“Grooming happens every day” Experts weigh in with the warning signs


Courtroom sketch of Tad Cummins’ federal arraignment (Courtesy: Vicki Behringer)

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New details in the Tad Cummins case paint a picture as to how authorities believe the 50-year-old groomed his 15-year-old victim.

During the hearing on Friday, a special FBI agent explained the role Cummins played in the Tennessee school where he taught.

An FBI special agent claims accused kidnapper Tad Cummins was a mentor for numerous abused and troubled students.

Rachel Irby with the Unchained Movement says there's a number of red flags that came up before Cummins disappeared with his 15-year-old student.

For instance, federal authorities revealed Cummins was perceived as the cool teacher, allowing his students to call him by his first name.

"It's when there is professional boundaries in this particular situation that were crossed where he was picking her up and taking her to church, which might seem harmless. But at the same time, it's a big enough deal to where a teacher probably shouldn't be spending that kind of time with a student," said Irby

Irby believes Cummins sought out this student for multiple reasons.
"The victim was kind of the perfect storm and he was able to swoop in and play those roles out as far as the hero, the confidant and eventually getting all of her trust," she said.

The FBI said Cummins bought his victim a Christmas gift and gave her money. Irby says these are signs parents should watch out for.

While this is a tragic case, Irby says it's a way to start a difficult conversation with your children about what grooming is.

"There are people in authority that are grooming children everyday. That could be teachers, it could be coaches, it could be police officers. This happens with family friends, relatives, it doesn't matter. Grooming happens everyday."

A judge ruled to detain Cummins until trial.

He is being held at the Henderson County Detention center in Kentucky.

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