ANN ARBOR, Mich. (FOX 2) - A former University of Michigan music professor was sentenced Thursday to five years in prison after he pleaded guilty to transporting a minor girl across state lines with the intent to engage in sexual conduct.
Stephen Shipps, 69, worked as a violin professor in the university's School of Music, Theatre, and Dance from 1989 to 2019, according to officials. He was also the director of the Strings Preparatory Program, which taught children in elementary through high school.
He also worked at 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, on several occasions in 2002, Shipps took a girl under the age of 18 across lines because he intended to engage in sexual activity with her. The girl was born in 1985.
The indictment and arrest in Ann Arbor came two years after Shipps was placed on paid leave by the university after former students came forward with allegations of sexual misconduct while he taught them in the 1970s and 1980s in Nebraska and North Carolina. He retired the next year.
Shipps was also ordered to pay $120,000 in restitution to the victim.
"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."