A former Tennessee teacher who pleaded guilty to federal charges after he left the state with a teenaged student in 2017 — sparking a nationwide manhunt — has been sentenced.
Tad Cummins, 52, was sentenced in Nashville on Wednesday to 20 years in prison. Prosecutors were seeking a 30-year sentence.
Cummins was a teacher with the Maury County School District in 2017 when he and a 15-year-old student fled the state together and spent more than five weeks on the run. The two were caught in a cabin in April of that year in a remote forest cabin in California after police received a tip regarding their whereabouts.
Prosecutors during a sentencing memorandum filed Monday argued Cummins deserved a harsh sentence because he took advantage of the girl, who had a history of abuse and neglect. They also noted Cummins had no plans to end his sexual relationship with the girl before he was caught.
Cummins, according to prosecutors in April 2018, engaged in sexual activity with the girl several times in a classroom closet and in a car. They allegedly first had intercourse after he took her out of state.
While on the run, Cummins changed the license plates on his vehicle twice and disconnected its GPS, according to federal court documents. He also reportedly went by different names, changed his physical appearance and only used cash.
The teacher asked for the minimum sentence of 10 years. He had no previous criminal history and said if he and the teen had not left Tennessee he would likely face a sentence of only two to four years.
Fox News’ Elizabeth Zwirz and The Associated Press contributed to this report.