DETROIT, Mich. (AP) — A former violin professor who taught at the University of Nebraska-Omaha has been sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty to knowingly transporting a girl across states lines for sex.
A federal judge who sentenced 69-year-old Stephen Shipps on Thursday also ordered the Ann Arbor man to pay $120,000 in restitution. Shipps, who was a long-term professor in the University of Michigan's Music, Theatre and Dance program and taught there from 1989 to 2019 before retiring, offered an apology and his lawyer had asked for no prison time.
The charges allege that Shipps took a girl across state lines several times in 2002. After Shipps' initial arrest for the 2002 crimes, a Detroit Free Press article quoted U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider saying that Shipps had "close interactions with many young girls who were gifted musicians," meeting with them in Michigan and other places and coercing them into sex.
This included a position as a director of the Strings Preparatory Academy program at UMichigan teaching elementary through high school-aged children, as well as faculty positions at Indiana University, the North Carolina School of the Arts, University of Nebraska-Omaha and the Banff Centre in Canada. Shipps also taught summer music programs in the Czech Republic, Germany and the United Kingdom for students.
His 2020 indictment came two years after the university placed the longtime professor on paid leave after former students accused him of sexual misconduct while he taught them in the 1970s and 1980s. The case was originally investigated by the Department of Homeland Security and the University of Michigan Police Department.