Guilty plea: Ben McCormack used the name ‘oz4skinboi’ in Skype conversations online (Grindr profile pictured)
Police sprung A Current Affair journalist Ben McCormack after they found references to the flagship Nine program in one of his vile Skype conversations.
Investigators pieced together the identity of the self-described ‘Proud Ped’ when his chat partner made references to ‘Ben’ and his ACA connections.
McCormack, 43, pleaded guilty to two charges of transmitting, producing or publishing child pornography material via a carriage service on Tuesday.
An agreed statement of facts shown to a Sydney court revealed details of the crucial conversation which led police to the true identity of ‘oz4skinboi’.
‘In one of the chats, the male referred to the accused as ‘Ben’,’ the court facts said.
‘(He) also makes references to the fact that ‘oz4skinboi’ has an affiliation with the 9 Network Program, A Current Affair.’
It’s understood a search warrant was executed shortly afterward.
A grim Ben McCormack (right) and his lawyer, Sam Macedone, arrive at court to enter his shock guilty plea on Tuesday
A transcript of one of McCormack’s conversations with the unknown man, as contained in the court documents (digital mock-up)
Police raided the program’s offices and McCormack’s Alexandria home on April 6. McCormack was pulled over at Moore Park, in Sydney’s east, the same day.
The identity of the man McCormack shared his perverted fantasies with was not revealed in court papers.
McCormack’s chat partner named one mystery man, ‘Lee’, in their fantasy chat – but it was unclear who exactly he was referring to.
‘We shud meet up with Lee and his nephew mmmm, make love to him,’ the man said.
McCormack replied: ‘imagine it’.
It’s understood McCormack’s arrest followed the earlier arrest of an alleged West Australian child rapist.
In May, the West Australian newspaper reported that arrest led police to phone and website records, as well as other Australians, including school teachers and McCormack.
One of the conversations between the pair, as outlined in an agreed statement of facts
In the eye of the media storm: McCormack wades through journalists at the Downing Centre Court in Sydney this week
Outside court on Tuesday, Mr Macedone said McCormack’s Skype conversations contained only ‘fantasy talk’.
He also said there were ‘never’ images of child exploitation exchanged.
McCormack resigned from Channel Nine recently.
He was suspended from his role at North Bondi Surf Life Saving Club after charges were laid.
Members are automatically expelled when they are convicted of serious criminal offences. McCormack has been committed to the District Court for a sentencing date.