Ex-University of Michigan professor sentenced to prison for exploiting minor

Stephen Shipps pleaded guilty to charges in November

Stephen Shipps (Photo: University of Michigan)

DETROIT, Mich. – Former University of Michigan professor Stephen Shipps, 69, was sentenced on Thursday to five years in federal prison for child exploitation.

In November, Shipps pleaded guilty to one count of transporting a minor across state lines for sex.

The announcement was made by United States Attorney Dawn N. Ison who was joined by Acting Special Agent in Charge James C. Harris, III, Homeland Security Investigations.

In addition to jail time, Shipps was ordered to pay $120,000 in restitution to his victim.

Shipps was a violin professor at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre, and Dance from 1989-2019, according to court records. In 2019, Shipps retired from U-M.

Read: Former students bring decades of accusations against University of Michigan music professor

He directed the Strings Preparatory Program, which trained elementary school and high school-age musicians and served on the faculties of the North Carolina School of the Arts, Indiana University, the University of Nebraska - Omaha and the Banff Centre in Canada. In addition, he taught European students over several summers in programs in the Czech Republic, the United Kingdom and Germany.

During February, March, June and July of 2002, Shipps transported a girl who was under the age of 18 across state lines with the intent to engage in sexual activity with the minor, according to court records.

“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,” Harris said in a statement.

“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,” Ison said in a statement. “I also want to thank the prosecutors and law enforcement officials who worked tirelessly to bring justice in this case.”

About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.