Shocked: Hey Dad! abuse victim Sarah Monahan said she was stunned the journalist she befriended boasted of being a ‘total pedo’
A victim of Hey Dad! paedophile Robert Hughes has revealed the sense of betrayal and disbelief she feels after a reporter who helped break the case open pleaded guilty to child pornography offences.
A Current Affair journalist Ben McCormack, 43, played a key role in exposing Hughes, tracking the former sitcom star down in Singapore in 2010. In 2014, he relayed news of a jury’s guilty verdict to victim Sarah Monahan.
McCormack on Tuesday entered guilty pleas to two charges of transmitting, publishing or promoting child pornography using a carriage service – with court documents revealing he described himself as a ‘b(oy) loving total pedo’ and a ‘proud Ped’.
A stunned Ms Monahan told Daily Mail Australia: ‘I just haven’t even come to grips with it yet.
‘I honestly don’t know whether to be sad, angry, disappointed. He was such a nice guy.’
She said he was hoping the case was just a ‘nothing blown out proportion.
‘I never expected him to be proud of being a pedo’.
Ben McCormack, pictured, pleaded guilty to counts of sending child pornography on Tuesday – although his lawyer said the conversation was just ‘fantasy talk’ and did not involve images
The senior Nine Network journalist (pictured left on camera), 43, was the face of Nine’s investigation into Robert Hughes
In an Instagram post, Ms Monahan said she had been holding out hope McCormack had been researching a story or had been taken out of context.
But McCormack’s explicit thoughts about young boys were laid bare in court facts released this week.
‘I had hoped there was a better explanation,’ Ms Monahan said.
‘Maybe he was doing research for a story. Maybe it was taken out of context.
‘Then reading the news this morning, I understood what friends of Robert (Hughes) must have felt.
‘That total disbelief that someone could have such a double life. That you could be so easily fooled into believing someone was a decent person.
‘The total disappointment, in them, for their actions, and in yourself, for letting this person into your world.
‘Sad that the journey you went through together was a lie. Anger that you allowed this person into your home.
One of the Skype text messages between McCormack and an unknown man, as shown to a court
Another transcript of one of McCormack’s conversations with the unknown man, as contained in the court documents (digital mock-up)
McCormack was suspended by Nine after NSW police raided ACA’s Sydney office and his home
‘The wonder of what they were thinking when they were relaying the guilty verdict to you, live from court.’
Ms Monahan, who now lives in the United States, said she still felt ‘pretty numb’ and said she hoped McCormack’s crimes were kept to the realm of ‘fantasy’.
She played Hughes’ youngest daughter, Jenny Kelly, in the hit TV show.
Hughes was convicted of indecent and sexual assault for offences against four girls, including Ms Monahan.
On Tuesday, McCormack’s lawyer Sam Macedone said outside court his client only engaged in ‘fantasy talk’ and did not send images of children being exploited.
A post Ms Monahan uploaded to Instagram on Wednesday morning
McCormack is pictured leaving the Downing Centre Local Court with his solicitor Sam Macedone after pleading guilty
In graphic Skype messages with an unknown man, McCormack confessed he would ‘perve non-stop… at the beach, shopping centre and movie theatres’.
Using the username ‘oz4skinboi’, he said he would ‘love to play’ with a boy and loved young boys ‘so much’, according to court documents.
In his first online conversation, McCormack claimed he was ’28, gay single love young bs too’.
The other man replied: ‘Yummmm’.
In another graphic conversation about children, he also appeared to tell the unknown man he would always be attracted to them.
‘U think I’ll always be a p?’ the man asked McCormack.
The journalist replied: ‘Yep. U… I’ll always have the attraction…they are beautiful.’
At one point, McCormack also sent the man 10 pictures. Captions alluded to bodily fluids, Speedos and underwear.
The court documents said authorities were not able to view the pictures.
‘Accordingly, there is no evidence that the images sent by the accused were of children in pornographic poses or activities,’ the agreed facts said.
Arriving: McCormack (centre) is swarmed by reporters as he appears at the Downing Centre
Outside court, his lawyer, Sam Macedone, described McCormack’s Skype conversations as ‘fantasy talk’.
He said there were ‘never’ images of child exploitation exchanged.
‘I just wanted to make it quite clear that were was never any images that were traded between Ben and anyone else of any child exploitation material,’ he said.
‘It was nothing more than fantasy talk, but no transporting of images.
‘That’s what I wanted, that’s what we’ve got, so we’re now pleading guilty and we’ll move on from there.’
McCormack resigned from the Nine Network several weeks ago.