Accused kidnapper argues statements coerced after his arrest

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A Tennessee school teacher who led police on a nationwide manhunt after running away with a 15-year-old student is arguing that statements he made after his arrest were coerced and should not be used in court.

Brent Horst, an attorney for 50-year-old Tad Cummins, made the argument in court filings a federal judge released this month, The Tennessean reported Friday.

Horst said law enforcement illegally collaborated with Cummins' estranged wife to pressure him to confess that he had sex with his former student.

Horst also said authorities suggested Cummins could be charged with rape if he did not confess to consensual sex with the girl. Cummins was charged with taking a minor across state lines for sex, and obstruction of justice after allegedly admitting they had sex during most of their 38 days on the run.

Cummins and the girl disappeared in March. They were found in April at a remote forest cabin near Cecilville, California, following a tip to police.

Prosecutors are expected to respond to Cummins' argument this month, and a decision could be made on the matter as soon as January.

A judge ordered Cummins held until trial. He's filed paperwork saying he is pleading not guilty.

The Tennessee Board of Education revoked Cummins' teaching license in July.

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Information from: The Tennessean, http://www.tennessean.com

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