A violin teacher who once taught at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts is facing child exploitation charges related to transporting a minor over state lines for sex.
On Thursday, Oct. 29, Stephen Shipps, age 67, was charged with two counts of coercion or enticement of a minor female and he was released on a $10,000 bond. If convicted, he could receive up to 15 years in prison.
Conditions of release from jail ban Shipp from talking to any victims or having contact with an individual under the age of 18. In addition, the judge in the case ordered Shipp’s phone to be monitored and he must receive psychiatric treatment.
The charges were a result of an investigation by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
“Thanks to the bravery of Shipps’ alleged victims and painstaking investigative work by HSI, this disgraced professor is being held accountable for coercing vulnerable young women into sex, in some cases in the distant past,” said Vance Callender, HSI special agent in charge of Michigan and Ohio. “This case underscores our commitment to pursue sexual predators and bring some measure of justice to the victims.”
The details laid out by ICE are from a recently unsealed indictment, which says that Shipps transported a girl who was 16 years old at the time of the alleged incident for the purpose of sexual encounters with him. Allegedly this happened twice, once in March 2002 and another time in July 2002.
Shipps is known as a master violin teacher and former longtime University of Michigan music professor who retired in 2019. In 2018, the student newspaper had published a bombshell report on sexual misconduct allegations involving Shipp:
A Michigan Daily investigation unearthed previously undisclosed allegations of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct against Shipps. These reports span nearly 40 years, from Fall 1978 to a University-affiliated summer program in the last five years. They include accusations of unwanted touching, sexual assault, prolonged sexual relationships with teenage students, and misogynistic and sexist verbal statements.
The student newspaper report prompted the school to put Shipp on leave.
According to ICE’s press release, Shipp has a long resume in education settings that includes time as a faculty member at the North Carolina School of the Arts.
“From 1989 to 2019, Shipps was employed by the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre, and Dance as a violin professor. Shipps was also the director of the Strings Preparatory Program, which offered instruction to young musicians ranging from elementary school through high school-age,” ICE’s statement reads.
Shipp also served on the faculties of Indiana University, the North Carolina School of the Arts, and the University of Nebraska – Omaha. The North Carolina School of the Arts serves high school, college and graduate-level students.
Shipp also taught abroad in the Czech Republic, Germany, and the United Kingdom and was a faculty member at the Banff Centre in Canada.
The investigation into this case is ongoing and it is unknown if there have been other victims in the past. ICE is asking for the public’s help to fully investigate this case. Anyone with any additional information about alleged crimes committed by Stephen Shipps is asked to call the Tip Line that has been set up by the Department of Homeland Security. That number is 866-DHS-TIPS (866-347-2423). Tips can also be emailed to HSI-Shipps-Investigation@ice.dhs.gov.
Shipps is not counted in this website’s tracking of teacher arrests, which currently stands at 24 arrests since Jan.1, 2020.