A WORLD-renowned conductor who abused a boy who saw him as a “surrogate father” is back behind bars.

Joseph Cullen, 58, was the choirmaster and organist at St Andrews Cathedral in Glasgow and choirmaster at St Aloysius Church in Garnethill between 1976 and 1985.

The father-of-three, who has worked at Westminster Cathedral and with the London Symphony Chorus where he won two Grammy awards, abused a nine year-old boy who joined a choir at St Andrews Cathedral.

He called the child his “special friend” and told him not to tell anyone because it was their secret.

Cullen, from Leeds, Yorkshire, pled guilty at Glasgow Sheriff Court to a charge of using lewd and libidinous conduct towards the schoolboy between January 1981 and December 1984.

Yesterday Sheriff Martin Jones QC jailed Cullen for 10 months.

He said: “The offence to which you have pled guilty involves the sexual abuse of a young boy between nine and 12 at the time, when he was particularly vulnerable.

“You were in a position of trust. You took advantage of that position and you sexually abused him over three years.”

The sheriff added: “The crime which you committed all those years ago remains serious, that’s not diluted by the passage of time.”

In July 2015, Cullen was jailed for 12 months at the High Court in Glasgow for two other charges of using lewd and libidinous conduct at both cathedrals against two other boys.

The court earlier heard the child joined the choir at nine and was a keen singer.

He experienced family problems which was a “memorable time in his life”.

Procurator fiscal depute Niall Macdonald said: “Cullen became more involved in the complainer’s life, taking him out on trips, driving him home from choir practice and spending time with him.

“He describes Cullen at this time as a ‘surrogate father’ despite him only being in his twenties.”

The court heard Cullen first attacked the boy in the organ room at the cathedral when he went for choir practice.

On hearing other people walk upstairs towards them, Cullen left the room briefly, but returned and said “that was close”.

The court heard of “several other occasions” when Cullen abused the boy in the organ room.

On one occasion Cullen drove the boy home and when nobody was in, asked to see his bedroom, where he carried out another sex attack.

He then took the child to another relative’s house but told him not to tell anyone because it was wrong, and their “special secret”.

In June 2015, the victim’s mother saw information online about Cullen’s earlier conviction relating to historical offences against children.

She told her son to report what Cullen had done to him.

Defence counsel Thomas Ross QC said Cullen had had a “very successful career as a freelance musician”.