A Current Affair host Tracy Grimshaw has broken her silence on former colleague Ben McCormack, revealing that she initially hoped he was simply a victim of police error.
McCormack, 43, was sentenced to a three-year good behaviour bond and fined $1000 at Downing Centre Local court on Wednesday. It came after he pleaded guilty to two child porn charges.
"Now it's over you are entitled to a statement from us," Tracy began on Wednesday night's edition of ACA.
"For me personally, I wished it was some terrible mistake."
"That maybe he'd been researching a story and his actions had been misinterpreted."
"But when the details of his online discussions became clear, when he called himself a 'proud pedo' who was attracted to boys aged 7 to 13-years-old, I realised it was no mistake by the police."
She added: "How could he do that? It was horrifying."
WATCH: The disgraced journalist was sentenced at Downing Centre Local court on Wednesday. Post continues...
McCormack had been involved in several child abuse stories for the news program over the years, including confronting former Hey Dad star Robert Hughes — now a convicted paedophile — about sexually abusing young girls.
What's more, the disgraced journalist spoke at length with Hughes' victim 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?" Tracey said.
"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?"
"I don't know ... I'd like to ask him that."
WATCH: McCormack speaks about the Hughes case on ACA. Post continues...
The self-confessed "total pedo" avoided jail after pleading guilty to two counts of using a carriage service to promote, publish or transmit child pornography in September.
The former A Current Affair reporter was sentenced after the court heard he was a victim of child sexual abuse and obsessively fantasised about a period in his life when he was a young boy.
McCormack had online conversations with young boys aged between seven and 12-years-old as well as telling another man he would always be a paedophile, the court heard.
"Yep, U ... I'll always have the attraction ... They are beautiful," he said via text.
Despite the offence carrying a maximum prison sentence of 15 years, the judge described McCormack's offending at the "lowest" end of the scale.
Police did not allege the former Channel Nine journalist exchanged any images or videos of children, only words.
McCormack had also sought medical treatment prior to his arrest – something Judge Paul Conlon said he had never seen.
"This is the first time I have ever seen a case involving this type of charge (where) the offender himself, well before he was arrested .... was seeking professional assistance for what he knew was wrong," he said.
Judge Conlon added his reputation had been destroyed and the public humiliation had resulted in the former journalist trying to kill himself on two occasions.
The veteran journalist was arrested in April after police officers sensationally raided ACA's Willoughby offices in North Sydney.
- CareerThe Australian companies making a difference to the lives of women
Australian Women's WeeklyYesterday 10:37am
- The WeeklyCalling All Future Trailblazers! Enter now and you could win $72,000 in cash and prizes!
Australian Women's WeeklyYesterday 7:00am