May 2004

Photographer admits indecency

A FORMER photographer who worked with Celtic FC has walked free from court after admitting taking pictures of naked young boys.

John Cullen, 49, of Pollokshaws, Glasgow, took children as young as ten back to his flat before persuading them to pose for the camera.

Cullen avoided a lengthy jail sentence and was placed on probation for three years at Glasgow Sheriff Court yesterday after he pled guilty to a charge of lewd and libidinous behaviour.

The sentence provoked outrage from one children’s charity after it emerged that none of the boys on the 250 images taken by Cullen had been traced.

A spokeswoman for Children First said: “Behind every indecent image of a child, there’s a real child. Children depend on adults to keep them safe.

“It is essential that the offending behaviour is addressed and that offenders are not released back on to the streets to repeat such crimes against children.

“We must show children that they can come forward to tell about their experiences.”

Cullen’s crime was first uncovered in May 2002, when cleaners were sweeping out a room at Celtic Park where Cullen kept his equipment.

The workers discovered a black bin bag and opened it to check if it was rubbish. Instead, however, they found bundles of black and white photos of nude and semi-naked young boys.

Officials at the club immediately called the police, before quizzing the married father-of-two about the photos. He admitted to inviting children to a house in Glasgow in 1982, where he took a series of photographs.

Cullen had first appeared in court last October, but the case was continually adjourned to allow police to try to identify the victims.

Despite prosecutors calling in specialist help from Scotland Yard’s paedophile unit, they still remain nameless.

Procurator-fiscal Liz Ramsey did say, however, it was believed the boys were aged between ten and 13.

Cullen was sacked from Celtic in June 2002. Some of his former colleagues, including Celtic View editor Joe Sullivan and club security chief Ronnie Hawthorn, had been due to give evidence against him.

In court yesterday, Sharon Gardener, defending, said: “This man realises that he has problems in his life and needs the help to address them as soon as possible.”

Sheriff Susan Raeburn QC told Cullen: “You will be placed on probation, but breach this order and you will be brought back to court, where a custodial sentence will be passed.”