Elizabeth Thomas, the teenager abducted by former Tennessee school teacher Tad Cummins, opened up about how he preyed on her.
She told ABC News correspondent Eva Pilgrim that that one day during school, he told her, “You’d look pretty nice naked.” There were no other students in the classroom, she said. Thomas realized the situation was going too far after he grabbed her face, and first kissed her.
“I was scared,” she said, after being asked why she told no one about it. “I don’t want to tell my parent that a grown man kissed me, and I don’t want to tell friends that a grown man kissed me. I don’t like the spotlight being on me.”
It wouldn’t stay a secret for long. Cummins abducted Thomas, then 15, from Columbia, Tennessee in March 2017, sparking an AMBER alert and nationwide manhunt. They were found living in a shack in California the following month.
Cummins put up a fight in court at first after being indicted in federal court for taking a minor across state lines for the purpose of engaging in criminal sexual conduct, and obstruction of justice, but he pleaded guilty in April. He faces up to 10 years in prison.
“The Government has been ready and eager to try Mr. Cummins on the charges brought by the grand jury,” said U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee Don Cochran said at the time. “In view of today’s development and Mr. Cummins’ decision to plead guilty, we are pleased that the victim no longer faces the possibility of enduring a lengthy trial.
He had been set for a sentencing hearing on Monday, but his legal team recently asked for it to be postponed. Court records obtained by Law&Crime show sentencing is now set for December 5.
[Screengrab via ABC News]