Ex-London Symphony chorus chief is jailed for child offences

Ex-London Symphony chorus chief is jailed for child offences


norman lebrecht

July 23, 2015

Joseph Cullen, who pleaded guilty to offences against two boys aged eight and eleven, was sentenced in Glasgow today to 12 months in jail.

Cullen, 55, was successively director of the London Symphony Chorus and the celebrated Huddersfield Choral Society.

joseph cullen2

More here.


  • Dismissed Employee 12 says:

    It serves this paedophile right.
    Justice has been done (although the sentence could have been much longer for such unacceptable child abuse.)
    His career is now ruined for his unacceptable historical behaviour.

    Let this be a warning to those who have also crossed the line with young vunerable pupils…….

    The Purcell School for Young Musicians has spent the last 5 years covering up lewd, verbal sexual abuse with groomed male pupils by a former headmaster, who following investigations by the authorities, was still allowed by the Governors to continue working with vunerable children, rather than they admit liability for their irresponsible mistakes and lack of child protection.

    Since then,12 former employees (some dismissed, some on retiring), were forced to sign agreements for cash to keep the lid on this and other sexual misdemeanors since becoming public knowledge.

    It’s high time, the victims here, spoke out [redacted: legal].

  • V.Lind says:

    Appallingly short sentence.

  • Dominic Stafford Uglow says:

    Many years ago, I was the administrator of the Fulbright Commission’s Police Fellowships.

    A pre-interview I held with a young officer working on the nascent Operation Ore will stay with me as long as I live, and can be summarised as follows:

    1) There are a proportion of pedophiles who will never EVER admit that what they have done is wrong. They will maintain, through dozens of hours of interrogation, that children as young as 2 years of age have given consent. Their moral certainty is fixed and unwavering.

    2) Those who concentrate on the severity of the physical or sexual abuse are missing the point. Though there are indeed instances of abduction and rape, the vast majority of child abuse is committed by persons known to the victim. The psychological abuse that leads to, and continues throughout, the sexual abuse can leave scars far more permanent than the physical abuse itself. A victim of child abuse must be helped to recognise that it is not the severity of the sexual abuse they have suffered, but rather the ‘mechanism’ as a whole that should be addressed, and to this end the trial and sentencing of pedophiles is immensely important.

    The victims of child abuse face a long road to recovery, not helped by apologists. It must take an enormous amount of bravery to come forward and face your abuser, to reverse the psychological abuse and feel confident enough to answer back. These people should be commended.

    • Dismissed Employee 12 says:

      Well stated Mr Stafford Uglow!
      Lets hope this information is read and digested by those investigating the forthcoming and long overdue Investigations into Child Abuse in our music schools.
      It’s such a travesty that The Governors at both The Purcell School, and Chethams, Manchester, didn’t accept responsibility for the horrific sexual child abuse that was allowed to happen under their dubious and irresponsible governance.
      Let us hope that the campaign led by Ian Pace, and the subsequent Investigation will once and for all, expose those who turned blind eyes and deaf ears over sexual abuse of music pupils under their care, and bring to justice those predators who think they are above the law, and fail to recognise the emotional scars and lives they have ruined by their immature selfish gratification.

  • J says:

    Are we not somewhat grand standing here?

    I understand that his actions were reprehensible, I also however accept that we don’t know the details of the abuse and that 12 months may be completely and utterly acceptable, given the circumstances.

    Surely second guessing the juridical system without access to the full facts, is a tad premature?

    • Yet another conductor says:

      U think 12months is appropriate for raping an 8yr old boy. ? He’s a compulsive predatory paedophile and hope he suffers in prison..don’t make excuses for the devious rat… minimising and justifying… I’d personally drown him in a canal n let the rats eat him

    • Papa B. XVI says:

      I post this latest comment for everyone’s benefit, none more so than for ‘V’……I think the penny has just dropped!……

      …..some of you may have seen a post of mine a few days ago (above), on another strand warning you to beware as I was beginning to wonder if ‘V’ was in fact Cullen himself……however, following the beginning of his time ‘at Her Majesty’s Pleasure’, I did receive the briefest of comments back from ‘V’, who said, and I quote, “Well you are wrong. Here I am – I am not Joseph.”…..good to know. However, reading back to the details of ‘V’s’ (her!?) previous comment, things are beginning to make sense……another previous comment to me was,

      “I am so sorry that your experience of Joseph has been so terribly different from mine and that of my three sons to whom he has shown nothing but great kindness and support for their personal and musical development.”…..only one person can seem to ‘defend’ what is surely the indefensible…..

      …….. [redacted]

      Let me just say this. From the extensive detail I have of this most offensive man and of this case due to my personal involvement, knowing what he did to me and others, Cullen was and, I believe still is today a master manipulator. He manipulated me, the other victims, their families, friends, acquaintances and even his own family. He is still doing this today.

      [redacted] Please don’t for get who the victims are here – myself, the other two boys involved in the recent High Court trail, and potentially others (we shall just have to wait and see)……NOT CULLEN HIMSELF!!!!!

      He is NOT the victim here; rather the perpetrator of sodomy, and other serious sexual crimes and of masterly manipulation. Please stop defending Cullen. [redacted] His sentence was lenient to say the least and the Crown will be actively seeking to appeal this undue leniency.

      • V says:

        Get a grip, instead of just flailing around – you gave me the impression of being an intelligent thinking being when you placed your first post. Now you are just coming across as very irrational in this and elements of your subsequent posts. Wrong again, I am not Joseph Cullen’s wife. She, poor girl, has better things to do than read or respond somewhat irrational posts such as this one.

        • Papa B. XVI says:

          There is nothing irrational in what I say….I guess we’ll never know…..All that I say is the truth.

          STOP DEFENDING THE INDEFENSIBLE – Cullen is a pedophile, manipulator and sodomite….these traits don’t just stop!!

          I pray for you and your ill-informed conscience.

          • Furtive musician says:

            Please. Please. If you are claiming to have been abused and that this charge has been proven please share some evidence. If this was true then some info would be available in the public domain then perhaps this conversation could revert to some sensible debate rather than the sorry state it has become.

  • Peter says:

    You can read the sentencing remarks here for anyone who wants a balanced discussion:


    • Papa B. XVI says:

      What makes Lord Turnbull’s sentencing remarks, specifically relating to mitigating factors and the case for leniency even more insulting for the victims is that it was not only 1976-1982 that Cullen was abusing children…..I was abused in 1987, some 5 years later, which made him 27 years old…..hardly an immature teenager/early 20 year old.

      I couldn’t believe what I was hearing – it was as if he was addressing his biggest ‘fan’ to whom he kinda’ had to pass a custodial sentence…..but if he could have found a loop-hole, we would have done. Shocking and very sad from one of Scotland’s senior judges.

  • Paul Lanfear says:

    These crimes arise out of a compulsion, so deterrents won’t work. Expressing repulsion or adopting a lynch-mob mentality may make you feel better, but does absolutely nothing to protect children. Addressing institutional failings and enabling those who expose safeguarding issues must take precedence over whatever we think the offender does or doesn’t “deserve”.

    • Dominic Stafford Uglow says:

      I am not sure that anyone here is promoting a lynch mob. What is being said by some here is that the sentencing appears disproportionate.

      The sodomy of a 10 year old child is a grave offence, and the culprit was in his early 20s at the time, old enough to know better. What is essentially a six month sentence seems rather short.

      Would it have been the same if the victim had been a 20 year old woman and the culprit a 30 year old man?

      With regard to compulsion, all crimes could pretty much be classed as compulsive, if one wanted to abnegate all responsibility.

      Abuse of children is often a protracted crime. It is not as if the culprits do not have time to ruminate upon their actions…

    • Papa B. XVI says:

      Hear! Hear! The protection and safeguarding of children from predators like Cullen is absolutely paramount.

      • Once Abused says:

        Papa B, I think we may have been at prep school together. Wasn’t in Old Hall Green, Hertfordshire by any chance? We were probably in the same choir. I think you and I are one of many, many others in the same situation as a result of Cullen’s actions. I wish you well my friend.

        • Papa B. XVI says:

          Hi Once Abused,

          No we definitely were not at St Edmund’s prep school together as I never attended there. Please don’t tell me you were also abused by Cullen? If so, I urge you to report the crime to the police in England. I would be happy to listen should you need to talk to someone first. The Met already know of him through his abuse of me, which occurred in England.

        • luke says:

          I was at st edmunds college. i was not abused by cullen but was aware of him … i’ll even give you my name LUKE MCEVOY sometimes spelt MACKEVOY.

          I was in st hughs from 1980 to 1984 then back to st eds for 6th form from 1988 to 1990.

          on FB today you can find on my page a long thread discussing the abuse at st eds… the possibility of a ring has come up. MR POOLE convicted 1989 while at st eds and also accusations against one FR.ROBERTS and others

          feel free to contact me here if i can help.

          • PAPA B. XVI says:

            Dear Luke,

            Thank you for writing on this thread about this difficult and tragic subject. It is important to find out the truth about what I am convinced is further instances of abuse perpetrated by Cullen, for which he should certainly be brought to book. The 1 year (out in 6 months) sentence he was given in Scotland was beyond belief in its leniency.

            I am not on FB (haven’t been for some years as it’s basically rubbish!), so sadly cannot read your post, but if you can send me the link to it, I’d be interested in doing so.

            Also, please can you convince anyone you know from your time at St Edmund’s back in the ’80s to come forward and go to the police if they were abused by this man or anyone else. These heinous crimes cannot go unpunished. I do believe it is our duty to protect all children, both now and the future from such predators and to send a message to anyone else of that compunction of the consequences when they are eventually tracked down.

          • oliver says:

            Just like a St Ed’s boy to put his boot into another’s fight! I remember that your peer group weren’t angels at St Ed’s – Buckling, Devine etc..towards the lower orders!!
            There was an endemic culture of cruelty at St Ed & St Hugh’s in the 80’s! It did not matter whether it was carried out by teachers on pupils or pupils on pupils! The tide of mental & physical abuse was a constant theme at St Ed’s & St Hugh’s.
            I clearly remember teachers like – Ward, Winters, Canon & Drew meting out their physical & mental punishments towards the students!
            For me one of the greatest sadness is that my parents had to pay for me to go to that sh*t institution!
            In my opinion I would demand a f**king refund plus interest from St Ed’s & St Hugh’s!!
            Personally, I feel St Ed’s should be held to account for it’s a abuses in the 80’s, like the Nazi were at Nuremberg!
            And that St Ed’s & St Hugh’s should be consigned to the history books like Auschwitz!
            With regards to sexual abuse at this institution I wasn’t aware of it!
            But, I would like to put out a hand of support to those who had a f**king rough time at St Hugh’s & St Ed’s. And with a enough support to try & force an apology out of St Ed’s for its historical abuses towards it’s pupils.

          • Oliver says:

            Luke – You talk the talk, but do you walk the walk?

            It’s bullsh*t about Fr Roberts!

            If your allegations are true – who have you contacted at Herts Police about these matters?

        • Papa B. XVI says:

          Dear ONCE ABUSED,

          I am trying to reach out to you once again following your post above of January 22 2016. I have been speaking with LUKE, who also attended St Edmund’s in the 1980s. I would be happy to speak with you about your experiences. No matter how difficult that might be, I would be like to offer my help/assistance in any way possible under the strictest of confidence. Please do get in touch through Luke at his email garage dot artists at gee male, and he can connect you with me.

  • Harmonious Dragmaster says:

    Can anyone explain why Joseph Cullen claims to be a Grammy Award winner?

  • Curioso says:

    Any news on his release yet – must be soon?

    • Westminsterwatcher says:

      He’s been out for a few days.

      • Papa B. XVI says:

        Can I ask you how you come to know this information? When was he released? Do you know his whereabouts now? Unbelievable that he didn’t even serve half the 12 months.

        • Papa B. XVI says:

          Dear Otley Resident,

          Thank you for your latest information. I am saddened to hear of how things have been conducted by his family and ‘followers’, both when sentenced and during his time in HMP Barlinnie. You are right to say that his total manipulation of them seems complete – when will they take off the blinkers and see him for the real person he is? Can they not even acknowledge that he actually pleaded to buggery?

          I am disappointed that Sally continues to condone him and his behaviour. As you may have seen by the comments in this thread, the person names ‘Once Abused’ also speaks of C. abusing him and other boys at St Edmund’s College, Old Hall Green, Hartfordshire in the late 1980’s. I am certain he’s absued others. I hope these people go to the authorities in England.

          I am currently suffering greatly still from the scares of the past. It has totally ‘fucked-up’ (sorry for swearing, but can think of no better way to express my feelings), my subsequent life, with repercussions prevalent even today, some 30 years later. Just when I think all the hard work I have done on trying to move forward is helping, things like this still eat away. I am finding forgiveness very hard at present. I am very angry and this doesn’t help. However, it is important to know.

        • Geoff says:

          “His daughter was posting his blog from prison for him, he wrote to her and she shared his thoughts and feeling with his “followers”.”

          This is not true. Joseph sent the letters to me and I typed them up and forwarded them to his many followers. I offered at the outset to act as a conduit as I believed there would be many people who would want to know what life in a high security prison is like for a convicted sex offender. No attempt was made to stop people sharing the blogs. In fact, they ended up being read by senior figures in the prison system as well as people who can in no way be described as followers, if by follower we mean, supporter.

          My view; the judicial system decides what counts as a criminal act and whether someone is guilty of an offence. That same system also decides a suitable sentence. If we accept the former we should accept the latter, otherwise anarchy reigns.

          Put simply, Joseph was found guilty of a serious sex offence and he is serving the sentence prescribed by law. That law includes time and space for Joseph and his family to build their shattered lives, for shattered they surely are despite tales of Joseph wandering around as though nothing has happened. Nothing could be further from the truth. And yes, our hearts go out to the victims and we can only hope they are getting the help and support they need. I cannot imagine a single person who read the blogs would disagree with the view that sexual offences against children are wrong and deeply damaging.

          As for those posting information about Josephs family, I do not think this should be done behind the cloak of anonymity as inaccurate statements are extremely damaging. In my opinion, If ‘you’ have something to say, be prepared to do it in the open. “In Sparta everyone, even a kings messenger, is responsible for the words of their voice.”

          I hope this post serves as a warning against trial by Social Media. The comment, “His daughter was posting his blog from prison for him…”., is untrue, yet it is presented as a fact. Such errors can have far reaching consequences and do nothing to ensure justice is served.

  • Otley resident says:


    Thank you for your reply to this thread. We are all entitled to our own opinions and I appreciate your open and frank comments.

    With regard to your view on the judicial system, have you read Lord Turnbull’s sentencing remarks? I have and I quote comments made by one of C’s victims,
    “What makes Lord Turnbull’s sentencing remarks, specifically relating to mitigating factors and the case for leniency even more insulting for the victims is that it was not only 1976-1982 that Cullen was abusing children…..I was abused in 1987, some 5 years later, which made him 27 years old…..hardly an immature teenager/early 20 year old. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing – it was as if he was addressing his biggest ‘fan’ to whom he kinda’ had to pass a custodial sentence…..but if he could have found a loop-hole, we would have done. Shocking and very sad from one of Scotland’s senior judges”. I personally was flabbergasted by Lord Turnbull’s remarks and sentence. C buggered two children, if he’d committed credit card fraud he probably would have got longer! Can I ask you to put yourself in the victims shoes, do you really and truly feel a suitable sentence has been given?

    You say the law provides time and space for C and his family to re-build their shattered lives….. I say what about the victims who have suffered for 30+ years and continue to suffer? Mmmmm let’s see, 6 months inside or 30+ years of hell. You say C is shattered, you are joking? This man has an ego the size of the moon and his family and followers/supporters are all so brainwashed by this master manipulator that they think the sun shines out of him! Is this a family truly shattered? They threw a party to celebrate his short sentence! Look into his eyes, as I have done, do you see a shattered man? All I see is a very smug man. Can you not see that by writing his blog you fed his ego!

    As for posting information about C’s whereabouts and comments made by his friends and family, I DO think this should be done behind the cloak of anonymity. As my Granny used to say “keep your friends close and your enemies closer”. I will continue to find out all I can through my contacts within his inner circle, to ensure my children and others stay safe from this evil man. I do not believe his crimes of 30 years ago are isolated and if you read other posts on this site I suspect I am correct. As a parent even the slightest doubt is enough for me to continue.

    I agree with you that inaccurate statements are extremely damaging.[redacted]

  • Oliver says:

    To BB4 – Further to your email: I am sorry to hear about your time at St Edumund’s College Ware.
    Who in Herts Police are you contacting re: abuses at the college?
    Furthermore, I knew Fr Roberts, and along with a number of students from the college. I can confirm, most categorically, that he was not a paedophile!
    My concern is the physical and humiliating abuse meted out by staff and pupils at the college in the 80’s.
    Contact me – if you are serious about your allegations!

  • One of his victims says:

    Joseph Cullen the predatory paedophile has been in court in Scotland again.. so for all you misguided fools who support him.. just shows how stupid you all are.. he has been charged and will b going back to jail again.. hopefully for longer.. he will be remembered as a paedophile. . Nothing else. A disgusting child molester. .

    • PAPA B. XV says:

      Dear ‘One of His Victims’,

      I received notification of your post today and was immediately concerned. Not just for yourself, but also the subject matter of your post.

      As ‘One of His Victims’, I can understand and appreciate how much Cullen has personally injured you and affected your life. However, I would ask you (and any other readers), to refrain from discussing, commenting, posting anything regarding any on-going investigation, which is ‘sub-judice’ and could have an (albeit unintentional) negative impact upon the case.

      Thank you for your understanding.

  • 1 of his victims says:

    Joseph cullen the serial paedophile pleads guilty to molesting a nine yr old boy. To add to his two previous guilty pleas in 2015… What have his followers and sympathisers got to say in his defence this time? What excuse this time. ? And there will b more… he is to be sentenced in just over 3 weeks… that’s time enough for all u ignorant fools who supported him to arrange a weekend break while he babysits your children….. yeah… I think not.

  • XX says:

    This man is a manipulative chameleon.. I was underage when he sexually assaulted me in his home at the city he lived in at the time. He was a very good advocate of mine and I of his, until “the scales fell from my eyes”. He has no remorse and has bragged and boasted about the previous two poor lives of now men in their later years he was convicted of humiliating and sexually assaulting. So by pleading guilty he manipulated a lesser sentence for a judge to decide on. If a jury were there they would see a highly credible chap. I hope that whomever the judge is this time will bang him to rights. He deserves the same lowlife treatment for the gutter rat guy from Scotland I once knew. I hope his kids are safe from his paedophilia, I hope their mother is protecting them, whether they be 30 years old or 3 years old. You never know with these evil people.

    • PAPA B. XVI says:

      Hi XX,
      Without wishing to push you to disclose details that you may be still uncomfortable talking about, has C’s crime against you in Glasgow, Leeds or London? Please tell me you have reported this to the police. If not, I urge you to do so as he is a serial paedophile. I and others will support you. Please reply.