Former University of Michigan violin professor charged with transporting minor girl across state lines

ANN ARBOR, MI — A former University of Michigan professor could be facing up to 15 years in prison after being charged with two counts of transporting a minor girl across state lines with the intent to engage in sexual conduct.

a man wearing a suit and tie: UM Professor Stephen Shipps and Maureen O'Boyle

© UM staff photo and O’Boyle courtesy photo/
UM Professor Stephen Shipps and Maureen O’Boyle

Stephen Shipps, 67, was arrested Thursday morning in Ann Arbor, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider. Shipps was employed by the UM School of Music, Theatre and Dance as a violin professor. He retired in February 2019, the release said.

The indictment by Schneider’s office alleges that in February, March, June and July of 2002, Shipps transported a girl under the age of 18 across state lines and intended to engage in sexual activity with her.

If convicted of both counts, Shipps faces a statutory maximum penalty of 15 years in federal prison, the release said.

“We are committed to the safety and well-being of the most vulnerable members of our society – our children,” 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. Our determination and commitment to seeking justice for victims has no time limit.”

Shipps was placed on paid leave by UM in 2018 after allegations of sexual misconduct against him were brought forward by former students he taught in the 1970s and 1980s in Nebraska and North Carolina.

UM violin professor accused of sexual misconduct

MLive does not usually name victims in sexual assault or misconduct cases, but Maureen O’Boyle gave permission when she was interviewed for a story in December 2018.

O’Boyle said she was invited to a party in Shipps’ basement in 1978. After smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol, “Steve had sex with me on that couch, where I always unpacked my violin for a lesson,” O’Boyle wrote in a written account of her affair with Shipps.

After that, O’Boyle said she visited the Shipps’ home regularly to babysit, take lessons or have sex.

“I didn’t know if he was going to give me a violin lesson or initiate sex,” O’Boyle told MLive. “It was just sort of a disaster … I felt terrible about the whole thing. He was married at the time.”

The case is being investigated by agents of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) with the assistance of the UM Police Department. Anyone with additional information about alleged crimes committed by Shipps is asked to call a tip line set up by the Department of Homeland Security at 866-347-2423.


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6 Russian military officers charged with a worldwide cyberattack

Six Russian military officers have been charged in what the Justice Department says was a hacking scheme to attack several major foreign powers, former Soviet republics and subvert investigations into nefarious activities by the Kremlin.

a man wearing a suit and tie: US Department of Justice seal is displayed on a podium during a news conference to announce money laundering charges against HSBC on December 11, 2012 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.

© Ramin Talaie/Getty Images
US Department of Justice seal is displayed on a podium during a news conference to announce money laundering charges against HSBC on December 11, 2012 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.

The alleged cyberattackers hacked into software using destructive malware to black out thousands of computers and cause nearly $1 billion in losses, and were intended to support Russian government efforts to undermine, retaliate against, or otherwise destabilize worldwide computer networks, the Justice Department said.

The alleged hackers are officers of the Russian Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU), a military intelligence agency of the General Staff of the Armed Forces. Monday’s charges allege some of the most consequential political attacks levied by the Kremlin since its efforts to interfere in the 2016 US presidential election, including the hacking of Democratic Party email accounts.

Prosecutors said they attacked Ukraine; the country of Georgia; elections in France; efforts to hold Russia accountable for its use of a weapons-grade nerve agent, Novichok, on foreign soil; and the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games after Russian athletes were banned from participating under their nation’s flag, as a consequence of Russian government-sponsored doping effort.

The United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania issued a federal arrest warrant for each of these defendants upon the grand jury’s return of the indictment.

“The defendants’ and their co-conspirators caused damage and disruption to computer networks worldwide, including in France, Georgia, the Netherlands, Republic of Korea, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States,” prosecutors said.

They are all charged in seven counts: conspiracy to conduct computer fraud and abuse, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, damaging protected computers, and aggravated identity theft.

One of the pieces of malware developed by the hackers took down the medical systems of Heritage Valley in Pennsylvania, prosecutors said.

From November 2015 to October 2019, “their computer attacks used some of the world’s most destructive malware to date, including: KillDisk and Industroyer, which each caused blackouts in Ukraine; NotPetya, which caused nearly $1 billion in losses to the three victims identified in the indictment alone; and Olympic Destroyer, which disrupted thousands of computers used to support the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics,” prosecutors said.

The NotPetya malware, for example, spread worldwide, damaged computers used in critical infrastructure, and caused enormous financial losses. Those losses were only part of the harm, however. For example, the NotPetya malware impaired Heritage Valley’s provision of critical medical services to citizens of the Western District of Pennsylvania through its two hospitals, 60 offices, and 18 community satellite facilities.

The attack caused the unavailability of patient lists, patient history, physical examination files, and laboratory records. Heritage Valley lost access to its mission-critical computer systems (such as those relating to cardiology, nuclear medicine, radiology, and surgery) for

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