NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A former Maury County teacher who admitted to kidnapping a student, which prompted a nationwide manhunt in 2017, has been sentenced to 20 years in prison with lifetime supervision.
Tad Cummins appeared in federal court Wednesday, where he faced a mandatory minimum of 10 years in federal prison. However, prosecutors pushed for a 30-year sentence.
Cummins was a teacher at Culleoka Unit School when officials said he took off with a 15-year old-student with the intention of having sex with her.
He became the subject of a nationwide search by law enforcement after leaving the Columbia area on March 13, 2017. Cummins was initially charged in a criminal complaint on April 20, 2017, after he was found in Cecilville, California with the 15-year-old victim.
He was later charged with transporting a minor across state lines to engage in sexual conduct and obstruction of justice.
Cummins walked into Wednesday's sentencing hearing wearing shackles and a gray and black jumpsuit. He mouthed "hi" and waved to family and supporters sitting in the crowd as he walked in.
U.S. Attorney Don Cochran held a press conference following the sentencing, saying "This is a case of a vulnerable little girl who trusted somebody she thought was a special teacher but turned out to actually be a sexual predator."
His victim also sat in the crowded courtroom. She was supposed to make a statement, but when that time came, she started sobbing and didn't say anything through the tears. After a few minutes, Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah Beth Meyers read the statement for the victim.
"It's an emotional time to come face-to-face with a perpetrator like that so it's perfectly understandable. Sarah Beth did a good job reading her statement. Those were her words, what she had to say she felt she had been betrayed by somebody she trusted who turned out to be a predator who used her, and so we understand the strain she was under," Cochran said.
Read the victim's entire statement here: Tad Cummins' victim in statement: "What you did to me is unspeakable"