Ben McCormack’s foul Skype buddy teacher Mathew Paul Reale
GRAPHIC CONTENT WARNING*
Police sprung Ben McCormack after finding chats with Perth Catholic teacher..
- GRAPHIC CONTENT WARNING*
- Police sprung Ben McCormack after finding chats with Perth Catholic teacher
- The clock started ticking on disgraced journalist, now 43, on March 1, 2017
- That was the day police arrested West Australian teacher Mathew Paul Reale
- Reale, aged 30, was a fresh-out-of-uni Year 6 teacher from Tuart Hill
- A reference to 'Ben' and 'A Current Affair' led police to the journalist
- McCormack was sentenced to a three-year, $1000 good behaviour bond today
By Daniel Piotrowski In Western Australia For Daily Mail Australia
Published: 21:09 EST, 5 December 2017 | Updated: 21:47 EST, 5 December 2017
'Im 27, gay, single, love young bs', said teacher Mathew Paul Reale – Ben McCormack's secret Skype buddy – in April 30, 2015
This is Ben McCormack's sick online chat buddy – a Catholic primary school teacher who fantasised about raping little boys as young as three.
Daily Mail Australia can reveal detectives caught the disgraced A Current Affair journalist after stumbling upon his vile conversations with Mathew Paul Reale.
Reale, 30, from Perth, was a recent university graduate teaching Year 6 and the star of a flamboyant joke video where he pretended to be Beyonce.
But all the while he was keeping a secret stash of photos and videos of children 'engaging in sexual activity' – and sharing them with others.
The teacher and the Nine Network personality, 43, met over Skype instant messenger on April 30, 2015, court documents for McCormack revealed.
'I'm 27, gay, single, love young bs (boys)', Reale said.
McCormack replied: '28 gay single love young bs too.
'Yummmm,' said Reale.
McCormack: '(Ages) 7-12'.
'U wanna f*** one, cool, 3-12 for me,' Reale said.
Baby-faced McCormack – a North Bondi Nippers supervisor and One Direction fanatic with a penchant for younger boyfriends – was lying to his new pal about his age.
Scroll down for video
Fall from grace: Ben McCormack (reporting for bail at Redfern Police Station this week) continued his vile conversations with Mathew Paul Reale for more than 18 months
The former journalist kept speaking to Reale for more than 18 months. He knew what he was doing was wrong and was seeing a psychiatrist, a court heard, but did not stop
'Sometimes you've just got to roll with it': Reale, now aged 30, described himself as 'fun, energetic, motivated' on social media
But even going under the suggestive username 'oz4skinboi', McCormack couldn't keep his true identity a secret, with police finding a crucial clue in their chat logs.
The clock started ticking on McCormack on February 27 – a Monday morning, the beginning of a school week for Reale.
The pair had kept talking for more than 18 months.
Once, Reale claimed he had been 'touching boys' bums' through their shorts, although it's not clear whether this was just fantasy.
Reale, pictured, was charged with a series of child exploitation offences, including distributing and producing it in writing
McCormack said at one point he 'loves chatting to pedos', to which Reale said 'OK coolies'.
Judge Paul Conlon said at his sentencing today: 'The conversation on 1 January 2017 is a clear indication that all the previous conversations have been about the two of them fantasising'.
McCormack said: 'But I do like naughty boys.'
Reale said: 'U eva think u'll play with one? Or just fantasy?' to which the journalist replied 'I'd love to'.
Reale went unnamed in McCormack's court facts, but his identity was confirmed by a source familiar with the brief of evidence.
That February morning, Reale was arrested at a red brick home for a series of child exploitation offences.
Detectives trawled through Reale's messages and found his conversations with McCormack.
At one point, there was a conversation where Reale made references to 'Ben' and 'A Current Affair'.
McCormack never said he was from ACA, his lawyer Sam Macedone said, but the passing remark was enough to intrigue investigators.
Months before A Current Affair journalist Ben McCormack was charged with child exploitation offences, he said: 'I love chatting to pedos'
About a month later, about 7.30am on April 6, McCormack was driving down Driver Avenue in Moore Park when he was pulled over by police.
The operation was clearly planned in advance, with police shooting more than two minutes of footage to distribute to the media.
McCormack stood sheepishly on the side of the highway in a navy suit as officers methodically took apart his car.
Raids would soon be carried out at his unit in Alexandria and at Nine's offices in Willoughby, sending shockwaves through the media.
Ironically, criminal lawyer Sam Macedone was on his way to shoot a quick grab for A Current Affair when he got the call from McCormack.
Mr Macedone – who regularly commentates on criminal law matters for the TV network – had worked on stories with McCormack.
He only knew him professionally, as someone who was 'fascinated by the legal system'.
'Sam, I've been arrested,' Mr Macedone recalled McCormack saying.
'He told me his situation. I found it a bit confronting.
'I said, hang on, I'll be there straight away.'
Mr Macedone found McCormack at Redfern police station.
McCormack was a high-flying journalist for the program – fronting consumer segments about the best laundry powder and jetting to Indonesia and Singapore for stories
McCormack – whose Grindr profile is pictured above – had been seeing a psychiatrist
He learned the journalist had long been troubled by his thoughts about children and had been seeing psychiatrists for years.
It's understood McCormack told psychiatrists he longed to go back to the time when he was 11-years-old, a happy schoolboy in Adelaide.
'He longed to get back to that period of time,' Mr Macedone said.
'He ruminated quite a lot, putting himself back in his adolescence'.
Hours after the call, the lawyer and a bailed McCormack were walking free from Redfern Police Station – and into a media squall.
One journalist loudly asked McCormack what he was thinking about when he was covering Hey Dad! abuser Robert Hughes' trial in 2014.
He jumped in a car driven by veteran Nine cameraman Drew Benjamin. Paparazzi even crashed into his car as they tailed him.
McCormack attempted suicide twice in the wake of the arrest.
One of a series of conversations between Mathew Reale and Ben McCormack
Another message exchange between McCormack and Mathew Paul Reale
He felt guilty about how his family and friends had been dragged into the mess.
'It's not your mess I've created, it's mine,' he wrote in a suicide note.
He was admitted to hospital and at one point even checked every hour.
He was filled with dread each time he turned up to court.
As he walked towards court to plead guilty to both charges in September, he mumbled to his lawyer: 'I'm starting to feel sick'
As he walked towards the Downing Centre to plead guilty to two counts of publishing, transmitting or promoting child abuse material in September, Channel Ten cameras caught him saying: 'I'm starting to feel sick'.
'Suck it in! Suck it in!' Mr Macedone said.
His Skype chat buddy, Reale, has pleaded guilty to one count of producing child exploitation material, nine counts of distributing child exploitation, and one count of using electronic communication with intent to procure a person under the age of 16 years for sexual activity.
Another man McCormack spoke to – white collar West Australian professional Leon Mario Berger – has pleaded guilty to one count of possessing child pornography. He declined to comment when approached at his home last month.
Both men will be sentenced by the state's District Court next year.
Defence sentencing submissions said McCormack had been 'cured of his idolisations of children' – but 'will always have to be on guard for it'.
Before he was sentenced on Wednesday, psychiatrists told McCormack he has to come to terms with the fact that Ben McCormack, TV journalist is over.
It's not clear what's next – his career over and his name to be listed on the sex offender's register.
'That person no longer exists,' Mr Macedone said.
'Now it's Ben McCormack issue two'.
BEN MCCORMACK'S UNRAVELLING: A TIMELINE
April 30, 2015: A Current Affair journalist Ben McCormack (username 'oz4skinboi') and Perth teacher Mathew Paul Reale start talking on Skype messenger about their child sex fantasies
January 26, 2017: Some 20 months after they first spoke, this is the last day the pair chatted which police spelled out in court documents
February 27: Police swoop on Reale's home in Tuart Hill, north of Perth, and seize several of his electronic devices
February 28: Reale is remanded in custody at the Perth Magistrates Court as the matter is 'too serious', with the magistrate noting he 'was working as a school teacher Grade 6'
April 6: McCormack is pulled over while driving in Moore Park, Sydney, and arrested. Police raid A Current Affair offices in Willoughby and his home in Alexandria. McCormack is charged that evening with one count of using a carriage service to transmit, publish or promote child pornography. A second identical charge would later be laid
Leon Berger pleaded guilty to one count of possessing child pornography material
May 5: Another man who spoke to McCormack, Leon Mario Berger, faces Armadale Local Court charged with a single offence of possessing child pornography. He would later plead guilty
June 8: Reale pleads guilty to a series of child exploitation offences and intending to expose a person under 13 to indecent matter and is committed to the West Australian District Court for sentencing
September 25: McCormack pleads guilty to both charges and courts release the full details of his charges. Nine Network confirms he has resigned from the network
November 24: District Court judge Paul Conlon says McCormack's offending is at the 'lowest' end of scale
December 6: McCormack is sentenced
February 16, 2018: Reale is listed for sentence
Sorry we are not currently accepting comments on this article.
Why Australia decided to quit its vaping habit
He’s talking about students in his class, teenagers, who can’t stop vaping.
He sees the effect of the candy-flavoured, nicotine-packed e-cigarettes on young minds every day, with children even vaping in class.
“The ones who are deepest into it will just get up out of their seat, or they’ll be fidgeting or nervous. The worst offenders will just walk out because they’re literally in withdrawal.”
Those who are most addicted need nicotine patches or rehabilitation, he says, talking about 13 and 14-year-olds.
is enough and introduced a range of new restrictions. Despite vapes already being illegal for many, under new legislation they will become available by prescription only.
The number of vaping teenagers in Australia has soared in recent years and authorities say it is the “number one behavioural issue” in schools across the country.
And they blame disposable vapes – which some experts say could be more addictive than heroin and cocaine – but for now are available in Australia in every convenience store, next to the chocolate bars at the counter.
For concerned teachers like Chris, their hands have been tied.
“If we suspect they have a vape, all we can really do is tell them to go to the principal’s office.
“At my old school, my head teacher told me he wanted to install vape detector alarms in the toilet, but apparently we weren’t allowed to because that would be an invasion of privacy.”
E-cigarettes have been sold as a safer alternative to tobacco, as they do not produce tar – the primary cause of lung cancer.
Some countries continue to promote them with public health initiatives to help cigarette smokers switch to a less deadly habit.
Last month, the UK government announced plans to hand out free vaping starter kits to one million smokers in England to get smoking rates below 5% by 2030.
But Australia’s government says that evidence that e-cigarettes help smokers quit is insufficient for now. Instead, research shows it may push young vapers into taking up smoking later in life.
Vapes, or e-cigarettes, are lithium battery-powered devices that have cartridges filled with liquids containing nicotine, artificial flavourings, and other chemicals.
The liquid is heated and turned into a vapour and inhaled into the user’s lungs.
Vaping took off from the mid-2000s and there were some 81 million vapers worldwide in 2021, according to the Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction group.
Fuelling the rise is the mushrooming popularity of flavoured vapes designed to appeal to the young.
These products can contain far higher volumes of nicotine than regular cigarettes, while some devices sold as ‘nicotine-free’ can actually hold large amounts.
The chemical cocktail also contains formaldehyde, and acetaldehyde – which have been linked to lung disease, heart disease, and cancer.
There’s also a suggestion of an increased risk of stroke, respiratory infection, and impaired lung function.
Experts warn not enough is known about the long-term health effects. But some alarming data has already been drawn out.
In 2020, US health authorities identified more than 2,800 cases of e-cigarette or vaping-related lung injury. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found 68 deaths attributed to that injury.
In Australia, a major study by leading charity The Cancer Council found more than half of all children who had ever vaped had used an e-cigarette they knew contained nicotine and thought that vaping was a socially acceptable behaviour.
School-age children were being supplied with e-cigarettes through friends or “dealers” inside and outside school, or from convenience stores and tobacconists, the report said.
Teens also reported purchasing vapes through social media, websites and at pop-up vape stores, the Generation Vape project found.
“Whichever way teenagers obtain e-cigarettes, they are all illegal, yet it’s happening under the noses of federal and state authorities”, report author and Cancer Council chair Anita Dessaix said.
“All Australian governments say they’re committed to ensuring e-cigarettes are only accessed by smokers with a prescription trying to quit – yet a crisis in youth e-cigarette use is unfolding in plain view.”
In addition to the government’s move to ban the import of all non-pharmaceutical vaping products – meaning they can now only be bought with a prescription – all single-use disposable vapes will be made illegal.
The volume and concentration of nicotine in e-cigarettes will also be restricted, and both flavours and packaging must be plain and carrying warning labels.
But these new measures are not actually all that drastic, says public health physician Professor Emily Banks from the Australian National University.
“Australia is not an outlier. It is unique to have a prescription-only model, but other places actually ban them completely, and that includes almost all of Latin America, India, Thailand and Japan.”
‘We have been duped’
Health Minister Mark Butler said the new vaping regulations will close the “biggest loophole in Australian healthcare history”.
“Just like they did with smoking… ‘Big Tobacco’ has taken another addictive product, wrapped it in shiny packaging and added sweet flavours to create a new generation of nicotine addicts.”
“We have been duped”, he said.
Medical experts agree. Prof Banks argues that the promotion of e-cigarettes as a “healthier” alternative was a classic “sleight-of-hand” from the tobacco industry.
As such vaping has become “normalised” in Australia, and in the UK too.
“There’s over 17,000 flavours, and the majority of use is not for smoking cessation”, she tells the BBC.
“They’re being heavily marketed towards children and adolescents. People who are smoking and using e-cigarettes – that’s the most common pattern of use, dual use.”
Professor Banks says authorities need to “de-normalise” vaping among teenagers and make vapes much harder to get hold of.
“Kids are interpreting the fact that they can very easily get hold of [vapes] as evidence [they’re safe], and they’re actually saying, ‘well, if they were that unsafe, I wouldn’t be able to buy one at the coffee shop’.
But could stricter controls make it harder for people who do turn to vapes hoping to quit or cut down on tobacco?
“It is important to bear in mind that for some people, e-cigarettes have really helped. But we shouldn’t say ‘this is great for smokers to quit’, says Prof Banks.
“We know from
Australia, from the US, from Europe, that two-thirds to three-quarters of people who quit smoking successfully, do so unaided.”
“You’re trying to bring these [vapes] in saying they’re a great way to quit smoking, but actually we’ve got bubble gum flavoured vapes being used by 13-year-olds in the school toilets. That is not what the community signed up for.”
Read from: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-65522841
Australia: Scott Morrison saga casts scrutiny on Queen’s representative
In the past fortnight, Australia has been gripped by revelations that former Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison secretly appointed himself to several additional ministries.
The move has been labelled a “power grab” by his successor as prime minister, and Mr Morrison has been scolded by many – even his own colleagues.
But the scandal has also dragged Australia’s governor-general into the fray – sparking one of the biggest controversies involving the Queen’s representative in Australia in 50 years.
So does Governor-General David Hurley have questions to answer, or is he just collateral damage?
Governors-general have fulfilled the practical duties as Australia’s head of state since the country’s 1901 federation.
Candidates for the role were initially chosen by the monarch but are now recommended by the Australian government.
The job is largely ceremonial – a governor-general in almost every circumstance must act on the advice of the government of the day. But conventions allow them the right to “encourage” and “warn” politicians.
Key duties include signing bills into law, issuing writs for elections, and swearing in ministers.
Mr Hurley has run into trouble on the latter. At Mr Morrison’s request, he swore the prime minister in as joint minister for health in March 2020, in case the existing minister became incapacitated by Covid.
Over the next 14 months, he also signed off Mr Morrison as an additional minister in the finance, treasury, home affairs and resources portfolios.
Mr Morrison already had ministerial powers, so Mr Hurley was basically just giving him authority over extra departments.
It’s a request the governor-general “would not have any kind of power to override or reject”, constitutional law professor Anne Twomey tells the BBC.
“This wasn’t even a meeting between the prime minister and the governor-general, it was just paperwork.”
But Mr Morrison’s appointments were not publicly announced, disclosed to the parliament, or even communicated to most of the ministers he was job-sharing with.
Australia’s solicitor-general found Mr Morrison’s actions were not illegal but had “fundamentally undermined” responsible government.
But the governor-general had done the right thing, the solicitor-general said in his advice this week.
It would have been “a clear breach” for him to refuse the prime minister, regardless of whether he knew the appointments would be kept secret, Stephen Donaghue said.
Critics push for investigation
Ultimately, Mr Hurley had to sign off on Mr Morrison’s requests, but critics say he could have counselled him against it and he could have publicised it himself.
But representatives for the governor-general say these types of appointments – giving ministers the right to administer other departments – are not unusual.
And it falls to the government of the day to decide if they should be announced to the public. They often opt not to.
Mr Hurley himself announcing the appointments would be unprecedented. He had “no reason to believe that appointments would not be communicated”, his spokesperson said.
Emeritus professor Jenny Hocking finds the suggestion Mr Hurley didn’t know the ministries had been kept secret “ridiculous”.
“The last of these bizarre, duplicated ministry appointments… were made more than a year after the first, so clearly by then the governor-general did know that they weren’t being made public,” she says.
“I don’t agree for a moment that the governor-general has a lot of things on his plate and might not have noticed.”
The historian says it’s one of the biggest controversies surrounding a governor-general since John Kerr caused a constitutional crisis by sacking Prime Minister Gough Whitlam in 1975.
Prof Hocking famously fought for transparency around that matter – waging a lengthy and costly legal battle that culminated in the release of Mr Kerr’s correspondence with the Queen.
And she says the same transparency is needed here.
The Australian public need to know whether Mr Hurley counselled the prime minister against the moves, and why he didn’t disclose them
The government has already announced an inquiry into Mr Morrison’s actions, but she wants it to look at the governor-general and his office too.
“If the inquiry is to find out what happened in order to fix what happened, it would be extremely problematic to leave out a key part of that equation.”
Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull – Mr Morrison’s predecessor – has also voiced support for an inquiry.
“Something has gone seriously wrong at Government House,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
“It is the passive compliance along the chain… that did undermine our constitution and our democracy… that troubles me the most. This is how tyranny gets under way.”
PM defends governor-general
Prof Twomey says the criticism of Mr Hurley is unfair – there’s was no “conspiracy” on his part to keep things secret.
“I don’t think it’s reasonable for anyone to expect that he could have guessed that the prime minister was keeping things secret from his own ministers, for example.
“Nobody really thought that was a possibility until about two weeks ago.”
Even if he had taken the unprecedented step to publicise the appointments or to reject Mr Morrison’s request, he’d have been criticised, she says.
“There’d be even more people saying ‘how outrageous!'” she says. “The role of governor-general is awkward because people are going to attack you either way.”
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has also defended Mr Hurley, saying he was just doing his job.
“I have no intention of undertaking any criticism of [him].”
A role fit for purpose?
Prof Hocking says it’s a timely moment to look at the role of the governor-general more broadly.
She points out it’s possible the Queen may have been informed about Mr Morrison’s extra ministries when Australia’s parliament and people were not.
“It does raise questions about whether this is fit for purpose, as we have for decades been a fully independent nation, but we still have… ‘the relics of colonialism’ alive and well.”
Momentum for a fresh referendum on an Australian republic has been growing and advocates have seized on the controversy.
“The idea that the Queen and her representative can be relied upon to uphold our system of government has been debunked once and for all,” the Australian Republic Movement’s Sandy Biar says.
“It’s time we had an Australian head of state, chosen by Australians and accountable to them to safeguard and uphold Australia’s constitution.”
But Prof Twomey says republicans are “clutching at straws” – under their proposals, the head of state would also have been bound to follow the prime minister’s advice.
“It wouldn’t result in any changes that would have made one iota of difference.”
Read from: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-62683210
Australia election: PM Morrison’s security team in car crash in Tasmania
A car carrying the Australian prime minister’s security team has crashed in Tasmania during an election campaign visit.
Four police officers were taken to hospital with “non-life threatening injuries” after the car and another vehicle collided, authorities said.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison was not in the car, but the accident prompted him to cancel the rest of his campaign events on Thursday.
The other driver involved was not hurt.
Tasmania Police said initial investigations suggested the second car had “collided with the rear of the police vehicle, while attempting to merge”. It caused the unmarked security vehicle to roll off the road.
The two Tasmania Police officers and two Australian Federal Police officers were conscious when taken to hospital for medical assessment, the prime minister’s office said.
“Family members of the officers have been contacted and are being kept informed of their condition,” a statement said.
“The PM is always extremely grateful for the protection provided by his security team and extends his best wishes for their recovery and to their families.”
Australians go to the polls on 21 May. Mr Morrison – prime minister since 2018 – is hoping to win his conservative coalition’s fourth term in office.
Polls suggest the opposition Labor Party, led by Anthony Albanese, is favoured to win. However, Mr Morrison defied similar polling to claim victory at the last election in 2019.
Mr Morrison’s Liberal-National coalition holds 76 seats in the House of Representatives – the minimum needed to retain power.
Political observers say the cost of living, climate change, trust in political leaders, and national security will be among key issues in the campaign.
In recent weeks, the prime minister has faced accusations of being a bully and once sabotaging a rival’s career by suggesting the man’s Lebanese heritage made him less electable. Mr Morrison has denied the allegations.
Mr Albanese stumbled into his own controversy this week when he failed to recall the nation’s unemployment or interest rates.
Read from: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-61103987
Australia4 years ago
Button and Diane Powellpark the school bus after three decades
Australia4 years ago
Button and Diane Powellpark the school bus after three decades
Europe2 years ago
Covid: Flights shut down as EU discusses UK virus threat
Europe2 years ago
Post-Brexit trade: Is red tape chaos just ‘teething trouble’ as the UK government argues?
Tech3 years ago
Search engine startup asks users to be the customer, not the product
Health2 years ago
Spain ‘to register’ those who refuse to have Covid-19 vaccine
Tech1 year ago
Sign up to The Independent’s free cryptocurrency expert panel event
Arts5 years ago
How a chain-link mosque at the Vancouver Biennale became a community hub