PETE TOWNSHEND was today (May 7) cleared of possessing child pornography, but has been placed on the Sex Offenders Register for five years.
The co-founder of The Who, Townshend, was arrested in January as a part of Operation Ore, the nationwide crackdown on child pornography.
Police said after a four-month investigation by a special Child Protection Group, the 57-year-old guitarist had visited a website containing child pornography, but had not downloaded any of the images.
A police spokesperson told Reuters: “He has fully co-operated with the investigation and the decision to caution was made in line with police policy,”
They also said that in accordance with the Sexual Offenders Register a DNA sample would be taken from Townshend.
Townshend has admitted viewing child pornography, but said he was carrying out research for a future book about child abuse.
However, police said that it was not a defence to access child pornography for research or out of curiosity.
Townshend said in a statement issued to NME.COM today: “From the very beginning, I acknowledged that I did access this site and that I had given the police full access to all of my computers.
“As I made clear at the outset, I accessed the site because of my concerns at the shocking material readily available on the Internet to children as well as adults, and as part of my research toward the campaign I had been putting together since 1995 to counter damage done by all kinds of pornography on the internet, but especially any involving child abuse.”
He added: “The police have unconditionally accepted that these were my motives in looking at this site and that there was no other nefarious purpose, and as a result they have decided not to charge me.
“I accept that I was wrong to access this site, and that by doing so, I broke the law, and I have accepted the caution that the police have given me.”