The 50-year-old former teacher accused of abducting a 15-year-old girl in Tennessee has pleaded not guilty to federal kidnapping charges.
The attorney for Tad Cummins entered the plea for his client in a new court filing, waiving Cummins’ presence at his arraignment Thursday.
Cummins was indicted May 18, on charges of obstruction of justice and “transporting a minor across state lines for the purpose of engaging in criminal sexual conduct.”
A former Culleoka Unit School health science teacher, Cummins is accused of abducting the teen from Columbia on March 13. He kidnapped the girl, according to police, more than a month after a student reported seeing Cummins kiss her. He was formally dismissed the day after the teen was reported missing.
On April 20, a tip to the police led authorities to a remote area of Siskiyou County, California where they found the missing teenager and Cummins. The cabin they were staying in at the time is more than 2,000 miles from where the search began.
After Cummins’ arrest, his wife, who filed for divorce while he was on the run, said he’d confessed in a jailhouse call that he “slept with” the teen. Authorities have yet to confirm the allegation. The victim’s age makes any sexual contact between the two statutory rape in the state of Tennessee.
In addition to the federal charges, Cummins faces charges in Tennessee, which include aggravated kidnapping and sexual contact with a minor.
Cummins is being held without bond in federal custody, where he faces the possibility of life imprisonment if convicted of the charges he faces.
Need help? Visit RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Online Hotline or the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s website.