In the case of 15-year-old Elizabeth Thomas, who was recently returned home after an almost 2 month long police search, it turns out that the girl’s mother had been abusing her at home, making her vulnerable to being seduced by the 50-year-old science teacher.
Thomas’ father is now divorcing the mother, saying that she has been abusing all of the children. He said that on more than one occasion, Elizabeth has been beaten by her mother and even locked in the basement. The father alleges that this type of behavior left her open to be “groomed” by the science teacher.
According to court documents, the children in the house had written letters and complained about the abuse to social services before.
The Daily Mail has more:
imberly Thomas, 48, physically abused several of her ten children, including Elizabeth, for about a year, beginning in November 2014, authorities claim.
She’s accused of banging Elizabeth’s head on a washer and, at another point, throwing her down basement steps and locking her inside, the documents said.
The documents also say she hit her children until they bled, knocked one daughter unconscious with a wooden board and threw a chair at another daughter, bruising her leg.
The mother also smacked a child in the head for injecting herself with her brother’s EpiPen, the documents say.
The children wrote letters to the Department of Children’s Services about the abuse before the mother was arrested, according to one of the teen’s relatives.
The teen’s father, Anthony, was living at home during the period of alleged abuse, but they separated in November 2015 and he took sole custody.
He is citing the alleged abuse as a reason for the divorce.
Anthony says that Cummins brainwashed his daughter, and said in the divorce documents that he used his position of authority to ‘prey upon her, groom her, and ultimately entice her into running away with him.’
A history of abuse at home can make children particularly susceptible to manipulation disguised as help, said David Finkelhor, director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire.
‘They’re very vulnerable to the grooming because this is an adult who seems to care about them and is interested in them, and that’s probably something they’re not getting elsewhere,’ he said.
Danielle Thomas, Elizabeth’s sister-in-law, claimed that Cummins knew the girl had been abused and took advantage of that information.
‘We have a 15-year-old girl with a 50-year-old man and he obviously used his power, his authority to, whether it’s groom her or convince her, to do certain things,’ she said.