Tad Cummins, former Tennessee teacher, indicted on federal charges

Posted at 8:03 PM, May 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-18 20:03:27-04

(CNN) — Tad Cummins, the former teacher accused of abducting a teenage student from Tennessee and taking her to California, was indicted Thursday on two federal charges.

Court documents said Cummins was indicted on a charge of transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activities, which has a maximum sentence of life in prison; and a second charge of destruction, alteration or falsification of records in a federal investigation, which has a maximum sentence of 20 years.

The second charge is related to his alleged destruction of two phones to impede the investigation, court documents said.

Each count is punishable by a fine of up to $250,000.

Cummins, 50, and the 15-year-old girl went missing March 13 from Columbia, Tennessee, sparking a nationwide search.

He had been suspended in February from the local high school after a student reported seeing him and the teenage girl kissing in a classroom, authorities said.

They traveled cross-country and were found April 20 at a remote cabin in Northern California, where they’d been posing as husband and wife.

Cummins also faces state charges of sexual contact with a minor and aggravated kidnapping, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said last month.

He has pleaded not guilty to the state charges.