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Finding Lost Children

The Mann Act

· Child sex abuse

Today, a teacher from Tennessee named Tad Cummins was caught five weeks after kidnapping a fifteen year old minor. Soon, he will likely be charged in Federal Court with violations of The Mann Act - taking a minor across state lines for the purpose of sex. These cases were my nightmares when I was a Federal Prosecutor. I would come into the office first thing in the morning and a supervisor would tell me a child has been taken. Our job for the next day, week, month, would be to find that child. I would call the United States Marshals Service as fast as possible - they find everyone. Soon my work would consist of gathering emergency search warrants, waiting for cell phone pings, making frantic phone calls, talking to family members, gathering clues and maintaining composure -or attempting to maintain composure at least.

Finding the child was only the first part of the process and you only get to celebrate for a minute once you find her. Then, the real investigation begins. How did the perpetrator gain access to the child? How did the perpetrator manipulate the child? What did the perpetrator do to the child - physically, emotionally and mentally? How quickly can we get the child help? What type of help does the child need? The scenarios that I have uncovered have had all different kinds of damage. There have been kids who were manipulated so badly that they thought they went willingly. There have been kids who were so emotionally abused that they had pacts with their perpetrator to kill themselves if they were caught.

The fifteen year old girl found today with Mr. Cummins takes her first step tomorrow. She will make the journey from victim to survivor but it will take time. She will not be alone.

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