NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The former Tennessee teacher accused of taking his 15-year-old student to Northern California to have sex wants statements he made to investigators thrown out. Tad Cummins’ attorney claims authorities coerced Cummins into talking.
Cummins was at the center of a more than 5-week nationwide manhunt following an AMBER Alert that listed him as the kidnapper of a 15-year-old girl.
Days after their disappearance, his now estranged wife Jill pleaded for him to turn himself in. Cummins’ attorney argues that authorities illegally worked with her to force a confession out of Cummins.
An affidavit from his estranged wife says that she had no desire to speak with Cummins. She says the Maury County Sheriff’s Office told her that her husband confessed to authorities that he had sex with the girl. The affidavit says investigators then requested she help them solicit a second confession quote, “In case it was ruled by the court that the initial confession obtained by the agents was coerced.”
The affidavit says the Maury County Sheriff wanted local, state and federal officials to record the call from inside her home. She claims that she refused, but did ask Cummins if he had confessed to sleeping with his 15-year-old student to which she says he stated that he did.
Cummins’ attorney claims authorities threatened Cummins, saying that he would receive a harsher penalty if he did not confess to having sex with the girl.
Prosecutors have not responded to the motion. A decision on the most recent filing will likely be made after the new year.
Cummins 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 cell phones in the Tennessee River near Decatur to throw off authorities.
If convicted, Cummins faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison.