LONDON — Pete Townshend, the legendary rock guitarist and co-founder of The Who, was arrested Monday on suspicion of possessing child pornography, police said.
Townshend has acknowledged using a Web site advertising child porn, but he said he is not a pedophile and was only doing research for an autobiography dealing with his own suspected childhood sexual abuse.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Wednesday January 15, 2003 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 12 inches; 432 words Type of Material: Correction
Pete Townshend -- An Associated Press article in Section A on Tuesday incorrectly stated that rock guitarist Pete Townshend admitted using his credit card to download child pornography from an Internet site. He said that he used the card to enter the site but that he never downloaded child pornography.
Police said they arrested Townshend, 57, under the Protection of Children Act after two searches at a business and a home in Richmond, the town outside London where he lives. They said they were examining computers from the home.
Townshend was released early today after questioning at a southwest London police station. He had not been charged.
Townshend had admitted in a statement Saturday that he once used a credit card to download pornographic images for his research. He said he reported what he saw to police.
Townshend said he believed he was "sexually abused between the age of 5 and 6 1/2."
"I cannot remember clearly what happened, but my creative work tends to throw up nasty shadows -- particularly in 'Tommy.' Some of the things I have seen on the Internet have informed my book, which I hope will be published later this year," he added.
The title character in Townshend's rock opera "Tommy" is sexually abused by an uncle.