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Ex-music professor indicted on sex charges involving minor

Stephen Shipps (Photo: University of Michigan)

ANN ARBOR – A former music professor at the University of Michigan was indicted on charges that he transported a minor across state lines to engage in sexual conduct.

Stephen Shipps, 67, was expected to be arraigned via video Thursday in federal court, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in Detroit.

Shipps, of Ann Arbor, was arrested Thursday morning.

The indictment alleges that on several occasions in 2002 a girl younger than 18 was transported across state lines for sexual activity. The girl was born in 1985, according to the indictment.

The case remains under investigation. The Associated Press was unable Thursday morning to determine if Shipps had an attorney.

Shipps had “close interactions with many young girls who were gifted musicians,” U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider said in a release.

Authorities said Shipps was violin instructor from 1989 to 2019 at the university’s School of Music, Theatre and Dance. He also directed a preparatory program that offered instruction to young musicians ranging from elementary school through high school-age.

Shipps was placed on administrative leave on Dec. 7, 2018, shortly after the University of Michigan learned of the allegations involving the minor, the school told The Associated Press Thursday.

“He was instructed at that time to have no contact with students, never returned to campus and retired from the university effective Feb. 28, 2019,” the university said. “The University of Michigan strongly condemns all sexual misconduct. Whether this reprehensible conduct takes place now or took place in the past, it is unacceptable.”

The school said it cooperated fully with the federal investigation.

Shipps also 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, federal authorities said.