Former McCurtain County teacher arraigned; bond set at $1 million

41-year-old is charged with 7 felonies, including 5 counts of child exploitation
Published: Oct. 18, 2022 at 6:05 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 18, 2022 at 9:29 PM CDT
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McCURTAIN COUNTY, Okla. (KSLA) — A $1 million bond stands against a former teacher who is accused of targeting students in a rural McCurtain County, Okla., town.

Ian Cassidy Highful faced a judge for the first time during his arraignment Tuesday, Oct. 18.

The 41-year-old is charged with seven felonies, including possession of thousands of images of child pornography and five counts of child exploitation.

[RELATED: Former McCurtain Co. teacher arrested for several felonies, including child pornography]

The accusations stem back to nearly six years ago when he worked as a teacher at Eagletown Schools, just east of Broken Bow, Okla.

Highful, while a teacher at Eagletown Schools, is accused of encouraging students to send him nude pictures, giving them alcohol and a host of other allegations.

He was employed as a Broken Bow teacher before that.

Although Highful was investigated back then, charges were dropped until the case recently was reopened.

“Investigators have performed an extensive investigation stemming from allegations made by former students alleging misconduct by their former teacher,” the Sheriff’s Office reported earlier this month.

ARRAIGNED: Ian Cassidy Highful, 41, is charged with five counts of child exploitation and one...
ARRAIGNED: Ian Cassidy Highful, 41, is charged with five counts of child exploitation and one count each of aggravated possession of child pornography and indecent exhibitions(Source: Cass County, Texas, Sheriff's Office)

On Oct. 6, McCurtain County sheriff’s investigators obtained a $1 million warrant for Highful’s arrest.

“It’s very taxing emotionally, physically to have to go through images of children, to hear their stories of abuse and to feel like they were never heard. It’s very painstaking,” said sheriff’s Capt. Alicia Manning, lead investigator on the case.

Highful was arrested last week in Klute, Texas, south of Houston then extradited to Oklahoma on Monday evening.

Online records show he was booked into the McCurtain County Jail in Idabel at midnight Monday, Oct. 17.

KSLA News 12 has been told that only a fraction of the possible victims have come forward so far. The Sheriff’s Office is still wanting to hear from other possible victims.

The FBI also is working this case, and federal charges could soon follow.