Tracy Grimshaw's fierce message to ex-colleague Ben McCormack over child abuse material.

Disgraced former Nine Network reporter Ben McCormack has received a three-year good behaviour bond after pleading guilty to child abuse material offences.

The sentence, handed down in a Sydney court yesterday, came exactly eight months after police raided his home and workplace in April.

McCormack, 43, was then suspended from his role as a journalist on Nine’s A Current Affair after he was charged with two counts of using a carriage service to transmit, publish or promote child abuse images, AAP reports.

Police found McCormack had been using the online name Oz4skinboi in conversations with an unnamed man that began in 2015.

He fantasised about young boys and their “perfect bodies” in the graphic chats, telling the other man he was a “total b loving pedo” and answering “Yep” when asked if he thought he would always “be a p”.

McCormack pleaded guilty in September. Yesterday, in handing down the sentence, Judge Paul Conlon said the offences were at the “lowest end of the scale” and that McCormack had sought psychological help in the past.

“Well before he was ever charged he acknowledged the wrongness and inappropriateness of his conduct and he sought professional help,” Conlon said, The Guardian reports.

“I am simply unable to conclude that the only appropriate sentence is one of imprisonment.”

Conlon agreed with McCormack’s psychiatrist Dr Michael Atherton who told the court he didn’t believe McCormack posed a risk to young people.

“There has been no attempt to sexually exploit children and no grooming of any child to partake in child pornography,” Conlon said in his sentencing.

Ben McCormack leaves the Downing Centre District Court in Sydney, Friday, November 24, 2017. (Image via Getty).

Throughout the saga, Channel Nine has been quiet. The network promised to report on the case like any other - and it did - but it provided no colour or context around what it was like to watch a colleague, a friend, come so undone for such an horrific crime.

Now, that's changed. And, following the verdict last night, A Current Affair presenter Tracy Grimshaw issued a statement. A real statement on behalf of the network and those who thought they knew him.


"I can tell you the reactions in our office from those of us who have worked with Ben McCormack for years – some, his close friends - ranged from utter disbelief on the day he was charged to a mixture of sadness, shock and revulsion as the nature of the offences became clear," her article, published on Nine News reads.

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Initially, she hoped it was a mistake, that the police had gotten it wrong. But when she learned that he'd called himself a "proud pedo" and confessed to feeling attracted to boys aged seven to 13, she could no longer deny the allegations.

"How could he do that? We’d had no clue of course, about any of it."

Tracy Grimshaw.

She shines an unforgiving light on the hypocrisy of McCormack. That, in his role as a journalist, he'd interviewed convicted peadophile and former Hey Dad actor Robert Hughes, as well as one of his victims Sarah Monahan.

"How the hell could Ben McCormack ask Hughes those questions, when he’s now admitted to the court that his own private attractions to children had already been triggered a couple of years earlier?" Grimshaw asks.

"How could he offer professional support and comfort to Sarah Monahan whom he knew had suffered for years after her abuse as a child, while at the same time privately harbouring his own perverted fantasies?"

Her anger and disbelief is clear and, throughout the piece, Grimshaw poses questions about McCormack's behaviour - questions she's willing to ask him in person if he agrees to an interview. "So far he's refused," she writes. "But the offer still stands."

Finally, and most importantly, she hopes Conlon's sentencing is accurate - that McCormack won't hurt any children, and that he is a good candidate for rehabilitation.

"The children matter more than anything," she concludes.