Ex-Nine News reporter Ben McCormack pleads guilty, called himself ‘proud pedo’

By @chelean on
Ben McCormack screenshot from Nine Network's "A Current Affair"
Ben McCormack screenshot from Nine Network's "A Current Affair" Nine Network

Former Nine Network journalist Ben McCormack pleaded guilty to child pornography at a Sydney court Tuesday. Online conversations apparently revealed that the 43-year-old “A Current Affair” reporter called himself a “proud” paedophile.

He pleaded guilty to two counts of using a carriage service to transmit, publish or promote child pornography, which carries up to 15 years’ imprisonment. He will face the District Court on Oct. 6.

McCormack was arrested in April at Moore Park. Authorities searched his unit in Alexandria and the “A Current Affair” office in Willoughby, seizing electronic devices like computers and mobile phones. The NSW detectives started his investigation following a tip-off from the Joint Anti-Child Exploitation Team.

According to the messages intercepted by the police, the reporter had been speaking with another man for two years from April 2015 to February 2017 in text and Skype messages. He went by the name Oz4skinbio. Their communications, which “amount to child pornography,” outlined his sexual interest in young boys.

In one conversation in July 2015, he agreed to the man that he would always “be a p,” saying, “I’ll always have the attraction … They are beautiful.” In another message in January this year, he told the man that he liked naughty boys. When he was asked if he would ever “play with one” or was it “just fantasy,” he replied, “I’d love to.”

In the same month, he wrote, “I’m a total b loving pedo.” He also sent the man messages such as “Proud ped, proud b lover.”

McCormack’s lawyer, Sam Macedone, said that the journalist had always admitted to what he had done. However, he said the messages between the two men did not include any child pornography materials.

“I just wanted to make it clear that there were never any images that were traded between Ben and anyone else of any child exploitation material,” Macedone told reporters. “It was nothing more than fantasy talk, but no transporting of images.”

Court documents revealed from the communication logs that McCormack and the other man exchanged a number of images. However, such materials were not made available. Furthermore, the documents state that “there is no evidence the images exchanged by the pair were of children in pornographic poses or activities.”

Channel 9 suspended him immediately after his arrest. It confirmed Tuesday that he had handed his resignation.