Former University of Michigan violin professor Steven Shipps, 67, was arrested on Thursday on two charges of transporting a minor girl across state lines to engage in sexual activity. If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in federal prison.
The charges stem from incidents that are alleged to have occurred in 2002. Click here to read the indictment.
In a video statement, U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider said that the investigation is ongoing. "We are asking for the public's help to fully investigate this case," Schneider said. "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. We are asking anyone who has additional information about the alleged crimes committed by Stephen Shipps to call the tip line that has been set up by the Department of Homeland Security." The phone number for the tipline is 1-866-347-2423, and the e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Our determination and commitment to seeking justice for victims has no time limit," he said.
Shipps taught at the University of Michigan's School of Music, Theatre & Dance from 1989 until he retired in February 2019, following a December 2018 article in The Michigan Daily that described allegations of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct against Shipps that spanned a 40-year time period. At the time of his retirement, he was Chair of the Department of Strings. He was also director of the String Preparatory Academy, a pre-college music program for middle school and high school students. Before coming to Michigan he taught at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, from 1980 to 1989.
Shipps was placed on administrative leave Dec. 7, 2018, shortly after the allegations became public.
"He was instructed at that time to have no contact with students, never returned to campus and retired from the university effective Feb. 28, 2019. The university cooperated fully with the federal investigation," said University of Michigan spokesperson Rick Fitzgerald.
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