Monday, January 13, 2003

CBC News Online staff

Who guitarist Pete Townshend accused of possessing child porn

LONDON — Police in London arrested rock star Pete Townshend Monday on suspicion he possessed child pornography.

Pete Townshend
Pete Townshend

Townshend, guitarist and songwriter for The Who, was questioned by police at his London-area home. He had earlier admitted to having visited a child pornography Web site.

He was arrested under the Protection of Children Act after police searched a business and a home in Richmond, Surrey, the suburb of London where he lives.

Police said they had seized computers and were examining them.

Townshend said he went to the Web site and used a credit card to access the images there in the course of doing research for a book about his own childhood.

The 57-year-old Townshend says he is not a pedophile, and suspects he was himself a victim of sexual abuse.

He said Saturday he visited the child porn sites when a newspaper published a story about an unidentified rock star under investigation for downloading kiddie porn.

A wide-ranging child pornography investigation in Britain has netted 1,300 suspects, including a judge, magistrates, dentists, hospital consultants and a deputy headmaster.

Operation Ore specifically targets people who view child pornography on the Internet. Investigators have arrested 50 police officers in the course of the probe, eight of whom have been charged.

The FBI is leading Operation Ore, which traced 250,000 suspected pedophiles around the world through credit card transactions. The FBI passed on the names of British suspects to Scotland Yard.

Written by CBC News Online staff

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Created: January 21, 2003
Last modified: January 21, 2003
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