NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Former Tennessee teacher Tad Cummins is requesting a hearing to plead guilty to the two federal charges against him, going back on an earlier not guilty plea.
He faces federal charges of transporting a minor across state lines with the intent to have sex and obstruction of justice. The obstruction charge stems from allegations that Cummins threw his and his alleged victim's cell phones in the Tennessee River near Decatur to keep authorities off their trail.
The former teacher fled with his 15-year-old student on March 13, 2017 and was found 39 days later in northern California, prosecutors say. At the time of their disappearance, Cummins was on suspension during an investigation that he had inappropriate contact with the student.
Cummins was a teacher at Culleoka Unit School in Columbia, Tennessee. The alleged victim was a student in one of his classes, and their relationship came under scrutiny after a fellow student claimed they saw Cummins kiss her during school hours.
Under federal law, Cummins faces at least a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison for the sex-related charge.