Assistant US attorney Jason Hitt added that Cummins had used 'his position of trust as a school teacher' to commit the alleged crime.

Their disappearance sparked a nationwide manhunt and Amber Alerts in several states before they were finally tracked down.

Cummins 'treated her like a child at times,' said the lawyer Whatley.

Whatley blasted any assertion that Elizabeth willingly ran away with her teacher as 'amazingly absurd'.'This is classic grooming and manipulation,' said Whatley.

'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.' Scroll down for videos Cummins was arrested last week in the California cabin, where he was hiding out with Elizabeth after the pair vanished from their hometown of Columbia, Tennessee, on March 13.

He then planned to seek passage to countries further south of Mexico.'In furtherance of this plan, the defendant procured a small watercraft and conducted a test run to cross into Mexico across the water from San Diego.

'The defendant also considered the feasibility of a land crossing into Mexico,' they said.

'I came out here on a prayer and people helped me out and got me on my feet and hopefully I can pass it on.'On Thursday, Cummins' wife claimed he had admitted he's slept with the teen and begged her forgiveness after he was caught.

Jill Cummins, who filed for divorce from Tad Cummins after he ran off with Elizabeth Thomas five weeks ago, said her husband made the confession during a phone call from jail.

Barry says the two first came through the area two weeks ago, looking for the Black Bear Ranch Commune, and were going by the names John and Joanna.

The couple, claiming to be 38 and 24 years old, had run out of gas and Cummins told a sad story about how they lost all of their possessions in a house fire in Colorado and didn't have any money left.

The pair disappeared from Columbia, Tennessee, on March 13.