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Pete Townshend Set Free

Inquiry into guitarist’s child porn connections will continue

British police released Pete Townshend just after midnight this
morning after questioning the Who guitarist for an hour and twenty
minutes about his use of child pornography on the Internet. Members
of Scotland Yard’s anti-porn task force Operation Ore also took
boxes of computer equipment away from Townshend’s London home to
examine for evidence. The guitarist will return to the station
later this month for further questioning, but he was not charged
with a crime.

In the British paper The Sun yesterday, Who singer
Roger Daltrey supported his band mate. “My gut instinct is that he
is not a pedophile,” Daltrey said. “Pete has perhaps been a little
naive in the way he has gone about it, but I believe his intentions
were good.”

Townshend, 57, was arrested yesterday afternoon under suspicion
of possessing indecent images of children and incitement to
distribute them. British law permits police to arrest and detain
suspected criminals without formally charging them. If eventually
charged and convicted, Townshend would face up to a five-year jail
term for viewing child pornography on the Internet — considered
“possession” — but the punishment can be mitigated if he offers a
credible explanation.

Townshend has admitted to looking at child pornography on the
Web but maintains he was doing research for an autobiography. In a
statement released Saturday, he said he suspects he was abused by
his mentally ill maternal grandmother when he was five: “I can’t
remember clearly what happened, but my creative work tends to throw
up nasty shadows — particularly in Tommy.”

That statement followed reports in the British press that
authorities were investigating an unnamed “legendary British rock
star” for child porn connections. Townshend positioned himself as
an avid opponent of child pornography and pedophilia caught in a
misunderstanding, saying, “I am not a pedophile . . . I hope you
will be able to see that I am sincerely disturbed by the sexual
abuse of children, and I am very active trying to help individuals
who have suffered, and to prevent further abuse.”

In This Article: The Who

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