Former Teacher Gets 25 Years In Prison For Child Sex Crimes, Mother Of Victim Comments

A former Oklahoma high school teacher is headed to prison after he pleaded guilty to multiple child sex crimes.

Tuesday, June 27th 2023, 9:24 pm



A former Oklahoma high school teacher is headed to prison after he pleaded guilty to multiple child sex crimes.

The mother of one of his victims was in court Tuesday as his sentence was read.

Melody Minchew said she was overcome with emotion as Ian Highful, formally a high school math teacher in Eagletown in McCurtain County, was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

It's a day Minchew, who could be heard sniffling in the background, thought would never come.

“Life changing. I can't explain it, I’m so happy,” said Tra Minchew’s mother, Melody. 

Ian Highful, formally a high school math teacher in Eagletown, preyed on Minchew's son, Tra, and other students for years.

“Gave our kids beer, showed up at parties, gave our kids tattoos and people overlooked it,” said Minchew.

In 2017, Tra told his mother Highful, his Math teacher, had raped him.

Investigations into Highful's phone uncovered 5,000 nude photographs of male teens, many of them were of his students.  

“They didn’t prey on this teacher, this teacher preyed on them,” said Minchew.

Despite Minchew sounding the alarm, and other parents coming forward, it wasn't until her son took his own life in 2021 that charges finally came forward.

“A hero, they said he was hero of five thousand victims, that's huge to me,” said Minchew.          

From 2017 until his death Minchew said she watched a light in her son, an aspiring PBR rider, dim.

With her son no longer able, Minchew in court Tuesday confronted Highful.

“So today, when you plead guilty, as Tra's mom I will take the same force that I used to have you arrested and learn how to forgive you,” said Minchew. 

Michew said she chose to forgive in hopes of one day being reunited with her son.

“I’m trying to make it to Heaven, and I don't want to hate him and miss it,” said Minchew.

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