Ex-Tennessee teacher who fled with teen wants to change plea

Tad Cummins

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — An ex-Tennessee teacher who fled with a 15-year-old student last year and set off a 39-day nationwide manhunt has asked to change his plea in federal court.

A document filed by his lawyer Thursday in federal court in Nashville says 51-year-old Tad Cummins wants to change his previous not-guilty plea. It says he “would like to enter a plea of guilty.”

He’s charged with transporting a minor across state lines for the purpose of engaging in criminal sexual conduct and obstruction of justice.

No date has been set for the requested hearing.

Cummins and the girl disappeared last March. They were found in April last year at a remote forest cabin near Cecilville, California, following a tip to police.

Cummins had planned to take the girl to Mexico and took a boat from San Diego on a test run, according to federal court documents. He switched vehicle license plates twice, disabled his vehicle’s GPS system, used aliases, altered his appearance, paid only in cash and used back roads during his nearly six weeks on the run, according to the documents.

Authorities credit the caretaker of the remote northern California property for helping police find the girl and arrest her alleged abductor.

The Tennessee Board of Education revoked Cummins’ teaching license in July.