Ex-University of Michigan professor pleads guilty to exploiting girls for sex

ANN ARBOR – Former University of Michigan professor Stephen Shipps pleaded guilty to transporting a minor across state lines for sex, US attorney Saima Mohsin said Tuesday.

The 68-year-old former violin professor was employed at the UM University of Music, Theater and Dance from 1989 to 2019. During his apprenticeship he also directed the string preparation program that musicians aged from elementary school to high school.

According to a 2018 Michigan Daily investigation, several former Shipps students accused him of sexual assault, adverse touch, sexual relationships with teenage students, and making sexist and misogynistic comments. Some of these allegations date back to 1978.

Related: Former students make decades of allegations against University of Michigan music professors


Shipps, who retired from UM in 2019, was an excellent music educator who has served in faculties of several universities teaching students in Europe during various summer music programs.

According to court records, Shipps knowingly transported an underage girl across state lines on several occasions in 2002 with the intention of engaging in sexual behavior with her.

“Shipps used their trust to sexually exploit a child,” Mohsin said in a statement. “Well-respected music professors at prestigious universities with competitive music programs like the University of Michigan enjoy tremendous influence within the music community. These professors often have the ability to make or finish careers. Stephen Shipps was an influential and much sought-after violin professor who had successfully launched many careers.

“I commend the brave young woman who stepped forward and exposed Shipps’ abuse. This case proves that the passage of time, no matter how long, will not prevent us from bringing to justice those who exploit our weakest. “


“Thanks to the remarkable bravery of the Shipps victims and the meticulous investigative work of HSI, this disgraced professor is held responsible for forcing vulnerable young women into sexual acts,” the incumbent Special Agent in the Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Michigan and Ohio, James C. Harris, said in a statement. “This case underscores HSI’s commitment to give due credibility to all allegations of sexual exploitation of minors and to provide victims with a measure of justice.”

The sentencing is slated for 11 a.m. on February 17, where Shipps could face 15 years in federal prison.

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