Former Tennessee teacher Tad Cummins sentenced 20 years for fleeing with student

FILE: Former TN teacher pleads guilty to crossing state lines to have sex with a minor (Image : Sinclair)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) - A former Maury County teacher has been sentenced to 20 years in prison followed by lifetime supervision for federal charges stemming from an incident involving a teen student in 2017.

Tad Cummins was sentenced in Nashville on Wednesday for his only federal criminal case. In court, he apologized to the victim before his sentence was handed down.

He faces 20 years in prison and a lifetime of supervision after his release in connection to the following charges: obstruction and transportation of a minor across state lines for the purposes of having criminal sexual intercourse.

The teenage victim had a statement read in court by an attorney. She called for Cummins to stay behind bars for 38 years.

"I believe Mr. Cummins' sentence should be 38 years in prison - one year for each day he kept me away from my family," the victim's statement reads.

Find the full statement below:

Cummins previously pleaded guilty to federal charges of transportation of a minor across state lines for the purposes of having criminal sexual intercourse and destruction, alteration or falsification of records in federal investigations. Cummins was sentenced 20 years on each count to run concurrently, for a total of 20 years behind bars.

Cummins was charged after investigators said he took a 15-year-old female student across the country and engaged in sexual activity with her, prompting an Amber Alert and nationwide BOLO.

Following a nationwide manhunt in 2017 for Cummins, authorities arrested him in a rural area of northern California. The teen was found safe and taken back home to Tennessee.

Here's a map of the reported locations Cummins took the teen:

The girl’s family filed a lawsuit against Maury County Schools, claiming the district knew about Cummins predatory behavior leading up to his disappearance with the teen girl.

Cummins originally pleaded not guilty to the federal charges in May 2017, but changed his plea to guilty in April 2018. Cummins faced a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison.

Ahead of the sentencing, Cummins' daughter, parents, and a former student wrote letters to Judge Aleta Trauger on his behalf:

"He always said one little lie that seems so insignificant in our brain will always spiral into many more significant lies. When this all started the devil won, my dad freaked out because never before had he been in such a dark place and then the lies began," Osborne wrote. "He knew nothing but to cover that up, so not to hurt anyone else by this stupid thing... That little lie turned into many big lies, that eventually began to torture him to the point of no return."

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