Tad Cummins and school board slapped with lawsuit for teen girl’s kidnapping and sexual abuse

Former Tennessee high school teacher, Tad Cummins, who made national headlines last year for reportedly kidnapping a teen student and driving her across state lines for the purpose of a sexual relationship, is facing a lawsuit, filed on Friday by the student’s father and a teen girl.

The Tennesseean reports that the victim’s father, Anthony Thomas, along with a “teenage girl,” filed a lawsuit on Friday against Cummins, 51, and the Maury County Board of Education. The lawsuit is seeking damages from both plaintiffs, claiming the school board missed crucial red flags that Cummins was carrying on an inappropriate relationship with the teen victim, then 15, while on school premises.

According to court documents, the school board is accused of failing to follow Title IX, which requires public schools to protect each student from being sexually harassed, and to contact authorities immediately should any allegations of sexual abuse occur.

“The growing relationship between Cummins and (the girl) was apparent to Culleoka Unit School student and teachers,” the lawsuit read. “This case is about how a public school failed its obligation to protect students from a predator.”

“Cummins was more of a friend and peer to students than he was their teacher of mentor,” the lawsuit read, according to the Daily Herald. “Cummins was aware of Jane’s background of domestic abuse and counseled here. Cummins became attracted to Jane. Cummins began flirting with Jane. Cummins told Jane that his ‘soul’ could see her ‘soul.’ ”

As CrimeOnline previously reported, Cummins and the victim were reportedly caught holding hands on several occasions while at the school. A student also allegedly reported seeing Elizabeth fast asleep on a bed that Cummins had in his classroom. He apparently had a hospital bed in his room for teaching purposes, but allowed Elizabeth [Thomas] the privilege of sleeping on the bed, alone in the room.

In other instances, the victim was allowed to leave class to visit Cummins, who had a “special seat” by his desk, reserved just for her.

“She was his special student,” family lawyer, Jason Whatley said. “She was allowed to leave class and go to him is what we understood; now we’re trying to confirm that.”

Cummins was reprimanded for his behavior towards Elizabeth, yet according to the Thomas family’s attorney, Jason Whatley, many students, and reportedly even staff members, place the blame on a 15-year-old child.

During school hours, Elizabeth dealt with kids calling her vicious names, such as “sl**” and “wh***.” According Whatley, even staff members reportedly joined in, allegedly calling the young girl words to the effect a “tramp.”

Culleoka Unit School [Photo: Google Maps/ May 2013]
“The picture we’re getting from these students is there began to be a lot of students who took the side of Tad Cummins in the alleged kissing incident. And the cryptic, strange response was to ridicule her for being a sl** and a who** and this and that,” Whatley said. “And those are the kid of words, the exact words, we were told were used. And unfortunately, allegedly – this is all allegations we haven’t confirmed – but there were also similar statements, according to these sources, overheard from some teachers talking about this incident where words along those lines were used.”

“Let’s be clear. We don’t know which teachers. We haven’t confirmed. I know a lot of these teachers and we pray that’s not true. But that’s the report coming out. The report is also that Elizabeth heard some of these comments,” Whatley said.

“And all of this has been created by Tad Cummins. It’s a perfect storm for him, and he uses that to take her away. After he’s the one who created the problem to start with,” Nancy Grace said in 2017, during an exclusive interview with Whatley.

A juvenile court judge placed a gag order last year on the parties involved in the case, including the teen victim.

“We are not making any statements right now,” Whatley said to The Daily Herald on Monday. “The pleadings, they speak for themselves.”

Check back with CrimeOnline as additional details become available.

Subscribe to Crime Stories with Nancy Grace: Apple Podcasts | iHeart | Art 19 | Google Play | RSS | Stitcher

[Feature Photo: Tad Cummins/TBI]