Child porn: Police arrest Who star
LONDON, England --Police in London have arrested Pete Townshend, guitarist with The Who, on suspicion of a series of offences connected with child pornography -- including the making of indecent images.
Townshend, 57, was arrested at his London home on suspicion of possessing indecent images of children, suspicion of making indecent images of children and suspicion of incitement to distribute indecent images of children, Scotland Yard said.
He was taken into custody at a south-west London police station, police said.
A Scotland Yard spokesman told the Press Association: "He has been arrested under the Protection of Children Act 1978 on suspicion of possessing indecent images of children, suspicion of making indecent images of children and on suspicion of incitement to distribute indecent images of children."
Townshend had earlier admitted visiting a Web site advertising child pornography. He said he was not a paedophile and had only used the site once as research for an autobiography dealing with his own suspected childhood sexual abuse.
He made the admission on Saturday after a newspaper reported that detectives were investigating an unidentified British rock star for downloading child pornography.
The spokesman said that two arrest warrants were executed at separate addresses in Richmond, southwest London, on Monday.
"One address is a business address and the other is residential. A number of items, including computers, have been removed from the residential address for forensic examination."
On Monday, a group of police officers arrived at Townshend's London home, one carrying a plastic crate carrying packaging to store potential evidence.
The rock star was at home, and his lawyer, John Cohen, told reporters they were meeting police.
"It's by mutual agreement. We approached the police this morning and said that we should meet," Cohen said.
A Metropolitan Police spokeswoman at the scene said the police, including forensic officers, had obtained a search warrant.
"There will be a thorough and detailed search of the premises. It will take as long as necessary," she said.
'Not a paedophile'
British police have arrested 1,300 suspects, including a judge, magistrates, dentists, hospital consultants and a deputy school headmaster, as part of Operation Ore, a crackdown on people who view child pornography on the Internet. Fifty police officers also have been arrested, and eight of them have been charged with offences.
Operation Ore is the British arm of an FBI-led operation that traced 250,000 suspected paedophiles around the world through credit card details used to pay for downloading child pornography. The names of British suspects were passed on to police here by U.S. investigators.
Townshend's friend, model Jerry Hall, said Sunday that Townshend was an "avid supporter" of child welfare charities and had spoken at length about the dangers of child pornography on the Internet.
The star said he never downloaded the material and only entered a site once using a credit card purely as part of research for a book he plans to publish later this year. (Profile)
In his statement, Townshend said: "I am not a paedophile. I have never entered chat rooms on the Internet to converse with children.
"I have, to the contrary, been shocked, angry and vocal (especially on my Web site) about the explosion of advertised paedophilic images on the Internet." (Statement)
Under UK law, it is a criminal offence punishable by up to up to five years imprisonment for anyone to possess indecent photographs or pseudo-photographs of children. (The law)
But an accused person has a defence if he can show that he had a legitimate reason for having the picture.
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