The mother of the 15-year-old teen who was rescued last week after 39 days on the run with her 50-year-old high school teacher was abused repeatedly by her mother, according to court documents filed by her father.
Anthony Thomas, father of Elizabeth Thomas, filed for divorce from his estranged wife Kimberly Thomas on Monday, and was also granted a restraining order against her. Kimberly Thomas is prohibited from having any contact with her husband, Elizabeth, or her three other minor children.
The divorce documents, obtained by the Associated Press and Crime Online (scroll down to read), include accusations of egregious abuse allegedly committed by the mother against Elizabeth and her other children.
In one instance, the Associated Press reports, Mrs. Thomas allegedly threw Elizabeth down the stairs and locked her in a basement. She is also accused of banging the girl’s head against a washing machine.
The Associated Press reports that Mrs. Thomas abused her other children as well: She is accused of knocking one daughter unconscious with a wooden board, hitting her children so hard that they bled, and throwing a chair at a daughter.
David Finkelhor, director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire, told the Associated Press that the alleged abuse may have made Elizabeth an easy target for an adult looking to take advantage of her.
“They’re very vulnerable to the grooming because this is an adult who seems to care about them and is interested in them, and that’s probably something they’re not getting elsewhere,” Finkelhor said.
Tad Cummins and Elizabeth Thomas are believed to have been involved in an intimate relationship. A 12-year-old student reportedly saw the teacher kiss Elizabeth on the lips in January. Police launched an investigation into the relationship after school officials reported the incident. Cummins was suspended from the school in February after he violated an order to avoid contact with Elizabeth.
Cummins was arrested on Thursday in northern California, and charged with kidnapping and transporting a minor for criminal sexual contact.
Read the Complaint for Divorce and Motion for Restraining Order Below: