Tad Cummins, the teacher accused of taking a teenage student from Tennessee to California, has waived his right to appear in court for an arraignment and pleaded not guilty to federal charges related to the incident.
Cummins is charged with transporting a minor across state lines for the purpose of engaging in criminal sexual conduct and obstruction of justice.
Court records show he entered a not guilty plea on May 26th. Cummins was set for a June 1 arraignment, but his plea filing also contains his agreement to waive the arraignment.
He was indicted on the transporting a minor and obstruction charges May 18.
The obstruction charge stems from allegations Cummins threw cell phones into the Tennessee River to impeded detection after he left Columbia, Tenn. with a 15-year-old female former student of his on March 13. He avoided detection, despite a nationwide Amber Alert for the teen, for 39 days before being located in rural Siskiyou County in Northern California.
Cummins had been a teacher at Culleoka Unit School near Columbia, Tenn. He was on suspension during an investigation into reports of inappropriate contact with the student when he allegedly borrowed his wife's car and left Columbia with the girl.