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ANGER AS CELTIC PERV SNAPPER WALKS FREE; Club official took photos of naked kids.

Byline: GRANT MCCABE By JAMES TAIT

CHILDREN'S campaigners hit out last night after a Celtic FC photographer who stashed pictures of naked boys at the club's stadium dodged jail.

John Cullen, who worked for official club magazine The Celtic View, took children aged 10-13 back to a house before making them pose for the camera.

The pervert was only caught 20 years later when Celtic Park cleaners found a bin bag stuffed with the photos in a room where he kept his equipment. They alerted club chiefs, who called in cops.

Married dad-of-two Cullen had snapped some of the club's greatest players and memorable moments in a 30-year career.

Yet no one knew of his sordid secret until the photos were found in May 2002.

Cullen, from Glasgow, was sacked and pleaded guilty to lewd and libidinous conduct in March this year. Despite a police search, his victims - who he photogra-phed in 1982 - have not been identified.

Celtic was rocked by a similar scandal in 1998 when former boys' club boss Jim Torbett was jailed for sexually abusing three young players in the 1960s and 70s.

Yesterday, at Glasgow Sheriff Court, Cullen, 49, walked free after being given three years' probation.

Children's groups immediately attacked the leniency of the sentence.

A spokeswoman for Children 1st said: "It is essential that 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 they can come forward to tell about their experiences."

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SORDID: Cullen hid pictures at stadium
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:May 25, 2004
Words:262
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