We all know and remember the horrific kidnapping case of 15-year-old Tennessee student, Elizabeth Thomas, by her 50-year-old high school teacher, Tad Cummins. In March of 2017, the married health science teacher took it upon himself to take Thomas as his own and flee with her - very much against her own will.
After a rigorous 38-day search, Thomas and Cummins were discovered in Northern California, a definite far cry from where they started out. Thomas was soon returned safely to her family. Now, two years after the terrible occurrence, Thomas has begun to find her voice and spoke out against the man who took her.
According to sources, before Cummins was officially sentenced, the judge read a statement from Thomas concerning the entire fiasco.
“The effects have been devastating and permanent, and they are not over. Mr. Cummins, what you did to me is unspeakable. I don’t know that any words could ever accurately express how much pain I have suffered and continue to suffer because of you,” she stated.
She continued with her heartfelt statement: “When I started school, you picked me out of the crowd. I was just a kid who wanted to make friends, but you were someone who had a plan. You saw a broken girl who was lonely, scared, and traumatized.”
Her emotional words continued to escalate. “You made her feel safe and loved because you saw what she needed and made her believe you would be her ‘protector.’ I was at a point in my life where I needed to be protected the most and when it came down to it, that was all part of your plan. All you were was a man who wanted sex, and you manipulated me and used me just for that.”
If that wasn’t scalding enough, she continued. This time, she refused to hold her emotions back any longer.
“You act like you care no and that you’re full of all this regret, but where was any of that before? Where was any of that when you first had me alone in your classroom and told me you wanted to see me naked? Where was any of that when you directed me into your classroom closet and violated me over and over again for months? Where was any of that when you spent untold amounts of time and effort into manipulating, pressuring, and deceiving me into thinking that you were the only person who cared about me? Where was any of that when I told you I was depressed and wanted to see a therapist, but you talked me out of it? Where was any of that when you convinced me to get in the car with you on March 13, 2017? Where was any of that when you sexually assaulted me night after night? Where was any of that when you made the decision to keep me away from my home and my family not once, not twice, but for 38 straight days?”
She finished off just as strong as she started. “I will have to live with the scars you left on me forever. You preyed upon a vulnerable girl and robber her childhood. For the last two years, I’ve been picking myself up, piece by piece, and proving to myself that I am much, much stronger than you convinced me I was. I chose to surround myself with people who pick me up, who cherish me, and who truly love me.”
“Because of that, I am able to stand here today, face you, and tell you that you don’t have the power over me that you used to have. You can’t hurt me anymore."
Cummins’ actions are completely irreversible and Thomas will have to forever live with the haunting memories of those frightful 38 days of torture, it’s empowering to see her be able to rise above the hurt and pain she’s been caused. Her powerful statement proves just how far she’s come since her rescue, and she’s not done healing yet.
Please be in prayer for Thomas as she continues down the long journey of processing her pain, shame, and heartache. Please also be in prayer for Cummins’ now-shattered family as they, also, continue to piece back their lives once again.