A nationwide manhunt for 50-year-old former teacher Tad Cummins and the rescue of his 15-year-old former student Elizabeth Thomas are becoming a warning to teens and families about how predators can unsuspectingly enter their lives.
ABC’s “20/20” segment last Friday revealed frightening details about Tad and how easy it was for Elizabeth to become the victim of a predator.
Here are the key things we learned:
— Elizabeth’s dad Anthony — who worked away from home a lot — claims he had no knowledge of the alleged physical abuse that Elizabeth and her four at-home siblings suffered at the hands of their mother Kimberly. He said he didn’t know what was going on until authorities showed up after the kids reported their own mom to Child Protect Services. Kimberly faces five charges of abuse but insists she’s not guilty.
— When Elizabeth went to public school for the first time after being homeschooled, she was an outsider in a clique-filled arena. She was bullied and had no friends except one teacher, Tad. He was the only person at school who helped her deal with the abuse she’d reportedly suffered at home.
— Seen by those around him as “quite the charmer,” Tad was in a position of being around many teens, from being a high school teacher to a Sunday school teacher to a jail ministry leader. He also sang in the choir and went on a missions trip to Panama.
— Tad’s daughters looked up to him and have nothing but praise to describe what it was like growing up with him. They described him as someone they could always go to to fix their problems.
— Tad started taking Elizabeth to his church so she could listen to the pastor’s wife talk about how to deal with abuse. Elizabeth continued to attend church with Tad and his wife Jill, who saw Tad and Elizabeth’s relationship as being like that of a father and daughter
— Tad’s former co-worker described Tad as a power-hungry person who got furious when other people tried to tell him what to do. He believes it’s the reason Tad left his high-paying medical field job to work as a teacher instead because students had to listen to him...READ THE REST OF THE STORY AND SEE THE VIDEO ON THE NEXT PAGE