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Tad Cummins’ Request to Be Released From Custody Denied by Judge

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Tad Cummins, the former Tennessee teacher accused of kidnapping his 15-year-old student, had his request to be released from custody ahead of trial denied by a federal judge Friday, according to multiple reports.

Cummins, who is currently jailed, had filed a motion to live with his parents, according to court documents obtained by PEOPLE. In the documents, Cummins’ attorney described the 50-year-old as “an unselfish person who would often help those in need” who has a “reputation for strong Christian character.”

In his motion, Cummins offered to abide by more than a dozen conditions if released, including not contacting the victim, his former student Elizabeth Thomas.

Authorities allege Cummins abducted Elizabeth on March 13 after months of “grooming” her, sparking a weeks-long AMBER Alert. Cummins was arrested on April 20, when he and Elizabeth were found living “off the grid” in a remote cabin in Northern California. Elizabeth, who returned to Tennessee the following day, is currently receiving counseling at an undisclosed location.

Cummins faces federal charges for allegedly knowingly transporting a minor across state lines with the intent to engage in sexual activity.

Prior to his capture, Tennessee authorities issued a warrant for Cummins’ arrest on charges of aggravated kidnapping and sexual contact with a minor — the latter charge stemming from an incident in which he allegedly kissed Elizabeth at the Culleoka Unit School, where Cummins was Elizabeth’s health sciences teacher.

Tad Cummins
Tennessee Bureau of Investigation

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Cummins also faces state charges in Maury County, Tennessee, where he allegedly abducted Elizabeth

Cummins maintains his innocence, the court documents state.

“Mr. Cummins never employed violence, force, or threats. At no time was the alleged victim held at gun point, hit, or forcibly held,” the documents state. “In fact, it appears that she desired to leave a broken home, and a school where she was a bullied outsider.”

Cummins’ public defender in California, Benjamin Galloway, issued a statement defending his client, claiming he has “no history of violence and no criminal history whatsoever,” and that he didn’t coerce, force or threaten Elizabeth, Cummins’ former student at the Culleoka Unit School in Maury County, Tennessee.

Tennessee Bureau of Investigations

The Thomas family attorney, Jason Whatley has told PEOPLE any suggestion that Elizabeth might have gone willingly is “amazingly absurd.”

“This is classic grooming and manipulation,” he said. “And I predict this case will be studied years in the future about how authority figures like Tad Cummins can mess up young children who believe their lies and are manipulated into doing things they would never do.”

If convicted, Cummins faces a minimum of 10 years to life in prison. Earlier this week, Cummins asked for a public defender. His attorney could not be reached for comment.