Retired University of Michigan Music Professor Charged with transporting young teen for Sex

October 29, 2020, 10:15 AM by  Allan Lengel

Stephen Shipps

University of Michigan Professor Stephen Shipps, 67, has been indicted by federal authorities on charges of  transporting a minor girl across state lines with the intent to engage in sex. 

Shipps, who taught violen at U-M from 1989 until his retirement last year, is charged in a two-count indictment with allegedly transporting a young girl under 18 in February through July of 2002 to have sex with, the U.S. Attorney's Office said Thursday in a press release.

Shipps worked for the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre, and Dance as a violin professor. He was also the director of the Strings Preparatory Program, which offered lessons to musicians ranging from elementary to high school age.

Shipp retired last year after the student newspaper, The Michigan Daily reported allegations of sexual inappropriate behavior spanning four decades.

The allegations included unwanted touching, inappropriate statements and sexual relationships with teenage students. One woman, Maureen O’Boyle, told The Detroit News she lost her virginity to Shipps when she was a 17-year-old high school student in the late 1970s.

At the time, he was concertmaster of the Omaha Symphony and she had moved from her home in Omaha and was studying with him and playing in the symphony. 

“We are committed to the safety and well-being of the most vulnerable members of our society – our children,” U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider said in a statement.  “For over 20 years, Stephen Shipps had close interactions with many young girls who were gifted musicians. Shipps met with these young girls both inside and outside of the state of Michigan. Our determination and commitment to seeking justice for victims has no time limit.”

Shipps of Ann Arbor was arrested Thursday morning and is set to appear in federal court via a zoom hearing at 1 p.m.

If convicted on both counts he faces a statutory maximum penalty of 15 years in prison. 

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