Girl kidnapped by teacher sues Tennessee school board

A teenage girl and her father are suing a school board for failing to protect her from a married 51-year-old teacher who manipulated her into a sexual relationship before kidnapping her for 39 days, according to the lawsuit.

Tad Cummins, who is also named as a defendant in the civil suit, was a teacher at Culleoka Unit School in Maury County, Tenn., when he disappeared with 15-year-old Elizabeth Thomas in March 2017.

The nationwide manhunt ended when the two were found in a remote cabin in California, and Cummins was arrested and charged with transporting a minor across state lines for the purpose of engaging in criminal sexual conduct.

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Elizabeth Thomas and Tad Cummins case
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Elizabeth Thomas and Tad Cummins case
Tad Cummins, 50, a former Tennessee high school teacher accused of abducting a 15-year-old student in March, seen in this booking photo after his arrest by Siskiyou County Sheriff?s Department?s Special Response Team (SRT) in Cecilville area of Siskiyou County, California, U.S. on April 20, 2017. Courtesy SCSO/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Siskiyou County Sheriff Jon Lopey announces the arrest of fugitive Tad Cummins, a former high school teacher accused of kidnapping 15 year old student Elizabeth Thomas, in Yreka, California, U.S. April 20, 2017. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart
#TNAMBERAlert: She's a high school freshman. He was a teacher accused of kidnapping her. Let's find her now! UPDATE… https://t.co/PD9FWyaUQN
Siskiyou County Sheriff Jon Lopey announces the arrest of fugitive Tad Cummins, a former high school teacher accused of kidnapping 15 year old student Elizabeth Thomas, in Yreka, California, U.S. April 20, 2017. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart
#TNAMBERAlert SIGHTING CONFIRMED: Tad Cummins and Elizabeth Thomas were in Oklahoma City on March 15th. DETAILS:… https://t.co/ZZ5oy2fDuA
This has been upgraded to statewide AMBER ALERT: Suspect Tad Cummins was a teacher at Maury Co. Schools. Anyone w/… https://t.co/6QFON36i19
NEW PICTURE: Here's the last known photograph of Elizabeth Thomas prior to her alleged kidnapping. Spot her? 1-800-… https://t.co/a2h7G50wPw
VIDEO: Here's surveillance of AMBER Alert suspect Tad Cummins, days before disappearing with Elizabeth Thomas. https://t.co/j1fuc5VJWH
New surveillance video of Tad Cummins accused of kidnapping 15 y/o girl appears to show him looking at hair colorin… https://t.co/Iii6HND7oB
TBI: Elizabeth Thomas & Tad Cummins may be wearing the clothes they disappeared in when AMBER Alert was issued:… https://t.co/2uljf6bz8d
NEW PICTURES: Various shots of Ted Cummins in the past few weeks, including the vehicle he's believed to be driving… https://t.co/ldcK8s2Kaf
UPDATE: Here's the latest in our ongoing #TNAMBERAlert. We're doing everything we can to bring Elizabeth home.… https://t.co/Iu084rDY9m
MEDIA: Here's a quick video clip of Tad Cummins & Elizabeth Thomas entering the Walmart in Oklahoma City on 3/15. https://t.co/tIsI94rT6a
Tad Cummins, a former high school teacher accused of luring a 15-year-old student into his car outside of a restaurant and disappearing with the girl, is pictured in this police handout photo. Maury County Sheriff's Office/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY.
Tad Cummins, a former high school teacher accused of luring a 15-year-old student into his car outside of a restaurant and disappearing with the girl, is pictured in this police handout photo. Maury County Sheriff's Office/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY.
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Thomas is referred to in the lawsuit only as Jane Doe. The Daily News does not normally identify victims of alleged sex crimes, though the teen has previously given permission for those writing about her to do so.

Cummins, who was known for being a lax teacher, encouraged the teen to eat lunch in his classroom, where he kept a bed for students to nap on, according to the lawsuit.

She confided in Cummins, who told her his soul could see her soul. He also dissuaded her from seeking professional help for depression, the lawsuit states.

On one occasion, Cummins said he wanted to see her naked, the lawsuit alleges. He began kissing and fondling her before persuading her to perform oral sex on him in the classroom closet on a regular basis, according to the lawsuit.

“The growing relationship between Cummins and Jane was apparent to other Culleoka Unit School students and teachers,” the lawsuit claims.

But school officials failed to take a proper course of action as students and teachers alike gossiped about the relationship and called the teen a “whore”, the lawsuit alleges.

When a student told the principal that he saw Cummins kissing the teen, the school launched an investigation.

But no one ever notified her parents, removed her from his class or bothered to call the police, according to the lawsuit.

The two were both allowed to go on a school field trip, during which Cummins propositioned the teen for sex, before the principal directed the two to stay away from each other, according to the lawsuit.

Two months after the school board concluded it could not verify claims that Cummins had kissed the girl, the two went missing.

After several Amber Alerts and a nationwide search, Cummins and Thomas were eventually found at a commune in northern California.

Cummins later told authorities he had sex with the girl most nights he was on the run, an FBI agent testified.

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