COLUMBIA, Tenn. – A former Tennessee teacher accused of running off with one of his students is facing a new lawsuit, along with the school board.
Tad Cummins and the teen student were found in rural Siskiyou County after a 39-day nationwide manhunt. Now, the teen’s father says it could have all been prevented.
Disguises, new license plates and back roads. Federal court documents reveal how tad Cummins may have tried to avoid capture in the nearly six weeks he was on the run with a 15-year-old student.
The pair was discovered last April after a caretaker in rural Siskiyou County recognized them and turned them in.
At the time, that man revealed Cummins had changed his identity. He said, she was kind of shy and timid, or something, he said she was 24 and he said he was 38.”
The news shocked the nation, but new court documents show there may have been signs something was wrong months before Cummins disappeared with the girl.
In a new lawsuit filed against Cummins and the Maury County Board of Education, the teen’s father says the school failed to protect his daughter from increasingly inappropriate behavior.
According to that lawsuit, Cummins groomed the teen over the course of several months, speaking to her before and after class and setting up a bed in his classroom so she could sleep. Once, even telling her his soul could see her soul.
According to the girl’s father, the flirting continued until the fall of 2016 when Cummins began asking the student to perform sexual acts with him in a classroom closet.
When students complained to the principal, the lawsuit claims the school launched an investigation but never told the girl’s father and didn’t try to separate Cummins and the teen.
And while the school reprimanded Cummins, it appears nothing was done to keep the two apart.
The lawsuit claims Cummins was eventually suspended. But not before the teen’s father had to get a lawyer to help protect her.
The Maury County Board of Education was also named in the suit. They haven’t responded to any media requests for comment. Meanwhile, Cummins’ trial is set to start in April.
The lawsuit seeks punitive damages that will be set by the jury.