Pete Townshend Cleared on Porn Rap

Police let the Who guitarist off with a warning. Then he emails Rolling Stone

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Four months after Pete Townshend, 58, was arrested for viewing child pornography on the Internet, London police have decided not to charge the Who guitarist with any crime. In January, Townshend said that he accessed the illicit photos while doing research for a memoir that would document his own abuse as a child. Investigators found that no images had been downloaded onto his computer yet said that his name will be placed on the national Sex Offenders Register for five years. Townshend told Rolling Stone in an e-mail (see "I'm Free," below) that he was surprised by the decision to name him as an offender but that he is ready to get on with his life.

"I'm Free": Townshend Emails Rolling Stone

I intend to work my way back to normality. As a result of all this shit, I've decided to greatly formalize the structure of my charity (Double-O) and the way I work with “survivors” — so that in future my work is more well-known to everyone. I've kept my profile low in this area out of modesty I suppose, and it has worked against me. I am going to complete my autobiography, Pete Townshend (who he?). I put it down and did not plan to finish it until much later. But now I am going to push ahead until it is done. People need to read about my entire life to get a real picture of who I am. I hope to finish it by the end of the year. So it may come out next year sometime. I am also going to get up and play just as soon as I can.

Townshend Fights Back Against Child Porn Charges

Finally, I'm going out onto the street to meet people, to smile and shake hands with everyone who has been supportive of me in my hometown. But also to give those people who are “undecided” a chance to look me in the eye and make their own decision.

Going on TV wont help me. I'm too wounded, too crazy, too happy and grateful, too resentful and too busy.

Who fans? I hope that life will go on as usual. Roger has been a rock.

This story is from the June 12th, 2003 issue of Rolling Stone.

From The Archives Issue 924: June 12, 2003
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