Tennessee school system denies wrongdoing in abduction case that sparked a nationwide manhunt

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MAURY COUNTY, Tenn. - The school system where former Tennessee teacher Tad Cummins taught is denying any wrongdoing in the case.

In January, a lawsuit filed on behalf of the victim accused the school board of education of failing to protect its students from a predator. The Maury County Board of Education says it did not ignore any warning signs surrounding Tad Cummins. Cummins is the man at the center of a nationwide manhunt last year. Prosecutors say he took his 15-year-old student to Northern California to have sex.

The federal complaint filed against the board of education says teachers and the Culleoka Unit School principal ignored red flags regarding the former teachers' relationship with the victim. In the response, the board admits it learned Cummins encouraged students to call him by his first name. However, the system says it did not fail any obligations that permitted Cummins to be "empowered as a predator."

Officials also say that a seventh-grade student reported witnessing the student and Cummins kiss in his classroom. The board says it suspended Cummins after learning about the relationship between him and the young girl. The response says the MCBOE affirmatively denies that school administrators ignored any warning signs.

Cummins is also named in the lawsuit, but no response has been filed on his behalf. He is currently facing federal charges of obstruction of justice and taking a minor across state lines with the intent to have sex. Recently filed court documents indicate that he plans to reverse his plea to guilty on April 5 in Nashville.

The board of education is requesting a federal judge dismiss the lawsuit or have the case tried before a jury of six individuals.

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