4 FILTHY LETTERS: The secret codes of Australian pedophiles
B-LOVERS and "P"s who want kids to GNOC. These are just some of the secret codes used in the world of online predators - by today's self-titled "boy-lovers" and paedophiles engaging in disgusting abuse of children on social media and gaming sites where they can fly under the radar.
And GNOC? It means Get Naked On Cam, and shows why parents should Google any unfamiliar slang or acronyms their kids are using online, according to Cyber safety expert Susan McLean.
This brand of disturbing language came under the spotlight yesterday when vile messages exchanged by former Channel 9 star Ben McCormack and another manwere exposed at Downing Centre Local Court in Sydney.
Ms McLean told news.com.au the way they operated was all too familiar. "If you Google 'boy-lovers', there's thousands of sites, it's a well-known term to define men who like boys," she said. "They're just slang terms. [McCormack] was talking to another predator. When paedophiles are grooming children, they often use acronyms so parents won't know what's being said ... they're not necessarily going to say, 'take off your clothes.'
"It's vile and it's disgusting."
The gumption displayed in McCormack's messages, detailed in the police facts tendered to court yesterday, was particularly repellent. The former A Current Affairreporter, who pleaded guilty to two child porn charges, called himself a "proud pedo", "proud ped" and "proud b lover".
When asked by the other unidentified male whether he would "always be a p", he replied, "Yep. U? I'll always had that attraction ... they are so beautiful", adding that he wanted "to make love to one so badly."
Ms McLean said predators "have this bravado" and "often rationalise that what they're doing is OK."
She was unsurprised that McCormack, 43, had been so reckless in talking about his sick fantasies on social media, and revealing identifying details that allowed police to catch him. "Most criminals are dumb," she said. "They think they're so far above it.
"They don't actually see what they're doing as wrong. They're sorry they got caught.
"He was of good standing in the community, high profile on TV and at the surf club ... It gives people disinhibition.
"He'd have been at the surf club leering at kids."
In a 30-second video of himself masturbating that he sent to the other man, McCormack is heard saying: "I perv non-stop man, the beach, the shopping centre, the movies."
The other man tells McCormack - who called himself 'Ozskinboi' and claimed to be 28 - about how he has touched boys on the backside, and the former journalist offers advice on how to get closer to them.
McCormack was caught talking about his fantasises to the other man through an online messenger service. But while we know he exchanged images with the other man, there is no evidence of what these images were or whether they were of children.
Predators are present on any technology that allows two-way communication, according to Ms McLean: social networks including Facebook, Instagram and Viber; online games including Minecraft and streaming apps Musical.ly and Live.ly, which are particularly popular with paedophiles.
Just last month, a Central West NSW mother revealed she had found screenshots of grooming messages sent to her 12-year-old daughter over Kik Messenger. In about five separate conversations, men claiming to be 23 and 25 years old had been seeking information about where she lived and how they could meet her - and sending her vulgar images and videos of young girls with "scared looks on their faces" engaging in oral sex and intercourse.
"Facebook have a team of people behind the scenes looking for people, so they prefer smaller sites where they're harder to find out - but not impossible, as we've seen with Ben.
"They think because it is encrypted or on the Dark Web, they're not going to be caught."
There are a few key ways paedophiles work. Some operate in isolation, targeting children for grooming and trying to solicit photos, and they existed in other environments before the internet.
Then there's a newer, online breed, who collect photos and videos of children and do not make contact. Then there are those who do make contact. Finally, you have those who like to connect with like-minded individuals.
"They'll talk about what they like to do, that's very common," said Ms McLean. "They exchange photos, say, 'I've got this, what would you like to do to them?'
"Others try to impress with what they can get. They might say, 'If you want to be part of our chat, you need to provide six photos of girls under six.' You're expected to trade something. And then they think, if someone's giving this stuff to me, they're probably real."
McCormack's lawyer Sam Macedone said his client's actions were "nothing more than fantasy talk." But none of these are victimless crimes. There are millions of photos and videos out there, and paedophiles are often caught with vast collections of hundreds of thousands of images. "It is not porn, it's images of child abuse, it's a crime scene," said Ms McLean. "If people didn't look, they wouldn't be there.
"According to a study from 2013, at any one time there are 750,000 sex offenders looking for children online."
And these activities have escalated into some of Australia's most shocking physical attacks and murders. There have been suspicions that William Tyrell's disappearance on NSW's Central Coast may have been linked to a paedophile ring, while Queensland 13-year-old Daniel Morcombe was abducted and murdered by paedophile Brett Cowan in 2003.
Dr Freda Briggs, Emeritus Professor in Child Development at the University of South Australia, told news.com.au in 2015 that the internet provides endless new opportunities for child abusers. "It was a lot harder for them. Now there are websites that you can only be a member of if you upload pictures of children, sometimes thousands of them."
"You just have to know where to look. It's easy for them to get involved."
It's thought that around half of all material from on paedophilia websites has been harvested from parents posting images and video of their family online - a process known as "parasite porn".
Ms McLean said parents, educators and tech companies whose platforms were being exploited needed to take action. "A woman I know posts constantly on Instagram, topless photos of her child, photos of her in the bath. I think, you don't know what you're doing, you're adding to these creeps' collections. Little girls in just bikini bottoms with their legs open, it's disgusting but that's what they look for.
"Large numbers [of the images] are now self-generated by children. We have to educate children not to add to this.
"Predators don't just like naked pictures, they like uniforms, sports clothes, bikinis, bathers, if they like the look of the child. That's what parents don't understand.
"I take reports of grooming every few weeks, and it goes to the police. I've had a couple of arrests this year. A lot of times it's not reported, parents panic.
"Every site or platform that uses the internet should have child safety front and centre, it's everyone's responsibility."
McCormack remains on bail ahead of sentencing proceedings on October 6.