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Press Release

Former University of Michigan Professor Sentenced on Charges of Child Exploitation of a Minor

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Michigan

DETROIT – A former University of Michigan professor was sentenced today to 5 years in federal prison after having pleaded guilty in November 2021 to one count of transporting a minor girl across state lines with the intent to engage in sexual conduct, announced United States Attorney Dawn N. Ison.

Ison was joined in the announcement by Acting Special Agent in Charge James C. Harris, III, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Sentenced was Stephen Shipps, 69, of Ann Arbor, Michigan.  In sentencing Shipps, United States District Judge Denise Page Hood also ordered Shipps to pay restitution to his victim in the amount of $120,000.00.

According to court records, from 1989 to 2019, Shipps was employed by the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre, and Dance as a violin professor. Shipps was also the director of the Strings Preparatory Program, which offered instruction to young musicians ranging from elementary school through high school-age. Shipps retired from the University of Michigan in February 2019.  In addition, Shipps served on the faculties of Indiana University, the North Carolina School of the Arts, the University of Nebraska – Omaha, and the Banff Centre in Canada.  He also taught students at summer music programs in the Czech Republic, Germany, and the United Kingdom.  

According to court records, from February and March of 2002, as well as in June and July of 2002, Shipps knowingly transported a minor girl, who was under 18 years old, across state lines, and Shipps intended to engage in sexual activity with her.

“I want to commend the brave young women who, after many years, found the courage to come forward and expose the abuse they suffered at the hands of Shipps,” stated U.S. Attorney Ison.  “I also want to thank the prosecutors and law enforcement officials who worked tirelessly to bring justice in this case.”

“It is my hope that today’s sentencing can bring some closure to Shipps’ victims and sends a powerful message to others in positions of trust that if you prey on the vulnerable you will be held accountable for your actions,” said HSI Detroit acting Special Agent in Charge James C. Harris III. “I am proud of the agents who worked tirelessly on this investigation to ensure that justice was served.”

This case was investigated by agents of HSI with the assistance of the University of Michigan Police Department.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara Woodward prosecuted this case.

Updated April 14, 2022

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