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Pete Townshend discusses child pornography arrest

By | Published on Friday 28 September 2012

Pete Townshend

The Who’s Pete Townshend has spoken about his 2003 arrest for accessing a website containing images of child abuse. As previously reported, the guitarist was cautioned and put on the sex offenders register by police, though he said at the time that he’d only paid for access to the website he was caught accessing as research for a book.

With that book, his autobiography ‘Who I Am’, now being serialised in The Times, he’s told the paper that actually it was part of a mission of his to prove that British banks were profiting from child abuse. In an interview with the broadsheet, Townshend said that he’d paid a £7 charge to access the website and then immediately cancelled it, hoping to prove that there was a financial chain running from Russian orphanages to banks in this country. A move he now admits was “insane”.

Townshend said: “I had experienced something creepy as a child, so you imagine, ‘what if I was a girl of nine or ten and my uncle had raped me every week?’ I felt I had an understanding, and I could help. What I did was insane. [And] I’ve had the misfortune to read online comments where I’m judged as a paedophile because I’ve got a big nose”.

Asked why he didn’t launch legal action to clear his name, he continued: “You know, I think I was exhausted. The police at Kingston station gave me half an hour to make a decision about whether to go to court or not. My lawyers were as surprised as I was because everyone thought I would be let off. And I thought that if I went to court they would fucking rip me apart”.