On March 15, 2017, health teacher Tad Cummins and one of his former students disappeared, as Dearly previously reported. For 38 days, law enforcement searched for the 15-year-old and her teacher before they received a tip from a California man who unknowingly housed the fugitives on his property.
The tip led to Cummins’s arrest and the teen’s safe return to her worried family in Tennessee.
— Tad Cummins (@tadcummins) December 29, 2014
Following his capture, Cummins was charged with transporting a minor across state lines for the purpose of engaging in criminal sexual conduct and obstruction of justice.
According to the Tennessean, since his arrest, Cummins’s court date has been pushed back multiple times. It is currently scheduled for April 2018.
Now a lawsuit is being brought against the Maury County Board of Education, which oversees Culleoka Unit School, the school where Cummins used to teach. The civil lawsuit states that school officials, other teachers, and the principal ignored “clear red flags” regarding Cummins’s relationship with the female student.
Those red flags included regular visits to Cummins’s classroom during free periods with no one else in the room, and the teen consistently taking naps on a bed he put in the room.
The Tennessean reports that the lawsuit claims that other teachers were aware the girl spent a lot of time in his classroom but didn’t intervene. According to the suit:
This case is about how a public school failed its obligation to protect students from a predator. […] The growing relationship between Cummins and (the girl) was apparent to Culleoka Unit School student and teachers. […] This case is about how a public school failed its obligation to protect students from a predator.
The suit also alleges that the sexual abuse began inside a closet located in Cummins’s classroom and that one of the teen’s peers asked to be removed from one of Cummins’s classes because the relationship between Cummins and the teen left her “feeling uncomfortable.”
NEW: Here’s the mug shot of Tad Cummins from California. He’s now facing state and federal charges. pic.twitter.com/2LYWL7QlSt
— TBI (@TBInvestigation) April 20, 2017
It wasn’t until January 2017 when a seventh grade student caught Cummins and the teen kissing that school administrators began “investigating.” However, during the investigation, no one contacted the teen’s parents or removed the teen from Cummins’ class.
Cummins also chaperoned a field trip the teen attended after the administration was alerted about the kiss the two shared. According to the lawsuit, Cummins made an indecent proposal to the teen, which she refused.
It was only then that the school’s principal enforced a no-contact order between Cummins and the student.
While Cummins’s next court date is scheduled for April, the former teacher appeared in court on Tuesday; his attorney Brent Horst asked to drop out of the case, according to the Tennessean.
It’s unclear if Horst’s actions will postpone the case yet again.
Cummins admitted to having a sexual relationship with the teen during a phone call with his soon-to-be-ex-wife, so prosecutors have sought statutory rape charges as well. Cummins is fighting to have those comments suppressed in court, as previously reported.