'Unspeakable': Elizabeth Thomas Takes On Kidnapper in Court With Powerful Statement

Playing Teen Elizabeth Thomas to Her Kidnapper: ‘You Preyed Upon a Vulnerable Girl’

In a powerful victim impact statement, Elizabeth Thomas chastised Tad Cummins, the teacher who pleaded guilty to kidnapping her, at his sentencing hearing on Wednesday. 

“The effects have been devastating and permanent, and they are not over,” the statement from Elizabeth, now 17, read. “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.

"You preyed upon a vulnerable girl and robbed her childhood," she continued. "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."

Cummins abducted Elizabeth in 2017 when she was 15 years old, fleeing across state lines to a remote cabin in California. After more than a month on the run, they were found by authorities. Cummins was arrested and Elizabeth was returned to her family. 

In 2018, he pleaded guilty to federal counts of transporting a minor across state lines for the purpose of engaging in criminal sexual conduct and obstruction of justice. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison Wednesday.

Speaking to ABC's "20/20" last year, Elizabeth said she believed she had to go with Cummins or else something bad would happen to her family.

“I mean, whenever he’d threaten me, and especially with guns, wouldn’t you believe that?” she said. “He said if he couldn’t have me, he’d kill himself.”

She added: "[People] think they know what happened. They think I’m a whore. They think that I like old men and that’s not the case."

Elizabeth has since become engaged to her boyfriend, Skylar Dirla, she confirmed to InsideEdition.com last October. They met after the death of a family member, she said at the time. 

Today, she's busily planning her wedding and moving on with her life. 

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