Woman once victimized by teacher weighs in on missing student case
A woman who had a sexual relationship with a teacher when she was 14 has offered her own perspective on the disappearance of 15-year-old Elizabeth Thomas, who has not been seen since disappearing with her 50-year-old teacher.
"I hope she makes it home, gets the help that she needs," Jenny Kutner told Inside Edition.
Kutner, now 25, knows firsthand what Thomas is going through. She says it all began when Lance Mueller, who was once her history teacher, started paying special attention to her.
"[We were] texting constantly, being on the phone constantly," she said. "Really the only times that I wasn't speaking to him that I remember from that time period was when I was sleeping and when I was in class."
"He was picking me up from school," she added. "He was in my parents' home. I was at his apartment."
Just like Thomas, she thought it was a storybook romance — and didn't understand that she was a victim.
"I wanted to keep seeing him. I wanted him to be my partner. I wanted to have this future that we talked about all the time, which, upon reflection, is delusional," Kutner said.
When asked what sort of things he said about their future, she said, "That we were going to have kids together; that we were going to be married," she said.
Thomas' teacher, Tad Cummins, is armed with two handguns. That worries Kutner because her own teacher once made an ominous threat about what he would do if they broke up.
"He said that he wouldn't be able to live without me and made very plain what that meant. He threatened to harm me or himself if I were ever to end the relationship," she said.
Kutner's story came to an end after two students found out what was going on and told their parents. Mueller was arrested and jailed for six months.
He has to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
When asked what she would say to Thomas, knowing how she felt at her age, she said, "You were not the one at fault. She has been taken advantage of, even if it doesn't feel that way."