A Current Affair Journalist Ben McCormack leaving Redfern police station.
A Current Affair Journalist Ben McCormack leaving Redfern police station. Adam Yip

A Current Affair's veteran journo on child porn charges

THE once-dominant Nine Network has been plunged into yet another damaging scandal as one of its most senior reporters was arrested on child porn charges.

Police swooped on the car of A Current Affair veteran Ben McCormack as he was driving near Moore Park and hauled him to Redfern Police station, where he was charged with sending child pornography over the internet.

Its also alleged the 42-year-old McCormack went online and used sexually explicit language while talking about young children with another adult male and discussing the children's photos.

The scandal comes exactly a year after a Nine Network team from current affairs program 60 Minutes was arrested in Lebanon for trying to kidnap three children and take them out of the country.

Officers from the NSW Sex Crimes Child Exploitation Internet Unit arrested McCormack near the Hordern Pavilion about 7.30am yesterday.

McCormack, 42, was taken to Redfern Police station for questioning and was later charged. Picture: NSW Police
McCormack, 42, was taken to Redfern Police station for questioning and was later charged. Picture: NSW Police

At the same time, detectives executed warrants at Nine's Willoughby studios, where McCormack worked before he was suspended late yesterday, and at his home in Alexandria, where they seized his computers and mobile phone.

Ben McCormack and Tracy Grimshaw discussing paedophile Robert Hughes on A Current Affair.

McCormack was known to use Grindr and brag about the young men he was dating.

The items were last night being examined by forensic technicians for any further evidence of criminal activity.

It is alleged that during his conversations over the internet, McCormack engaged in extremely explicit conversations about acts on children which were monitored by Strike Force Trawler, a unit specialising in internet child pornography crimes.

A number of items were seized during the raids. Picture: NSW Police
A number of items were seized during the raids. Picture: NSW Police

Ironically it was McCormack who tracked down convicted child molester and TV star Robert Hughes while he was in Singapore and under investigation by the same unit that arrested him yesterday.

McCormack spent most of yesterday being questioned by detectives before he was charged at 4.30pm.

Earlier in the day he had been in touch with Sydney lawyer Sam Macedone.

Reporter charged in child porn investigation

McCormack was released from police custody on strict bail conditions and will appear at Downing Centre Local Court on May 1.

His arrest stunned staff at Channel 9, where he had worked for 14 years, as well as members of the North Bondi Surf Life Saving club, where he has been a member for a number of years - including training nippers.

 

Ben McCormack released from Redfern police station last night.
Ben McCormack released from Redfern police station last night. AAP

The Daily Telegraph understands that McCormack had been warned by friends about his interest in dating teenage men.

"He's always on Grindr and having dates with young-looking men. He was a bit of a Peter Pan, didn't want to get old," a source, who declined to be named, said.

The former colleague claimed McCormack "would often show photos of guys he was seeing and they would always be baby-faced teens but a legal age".

"His life is lifesaving, but he mentors and trains young boys there," they said.

Police allege McCormack "engaged in sexually explicit conversations about children with an adult male and discussed child pornography".

Last night, regular A Current Affair host Tracy Grimshaw was strangely absent and it was left to stand-in presenter Leila McKinnon to address the shock news.

"Tonight one of our most senior reporters is facing serious charges involving child pornography offences," McKinnon said.

"A Current Affair has a long history of pursuing offenders in these types of cases and we intend to cover this story without fear or favour."

Earlier, Nine had issued a statement saying McCormack had been suspended from his position.

"Ben McCormack was arrested today and charged with using a carriage service for child pornography material," it said.

"Given the serious nature of the allegations, Nine has taken a strong position and immediately suspended Ben McCormack."

News Corp Australia

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