Pete Townshend Speaks


By now everyone knows that Pete Townshend has been arrested for acquiring child pornography online. One interesting bit of background material is an article about kiddie porn that Pete Townshend posted to his website last August, then removed for legal reasons; it is now being circulated via e-mail by the critic/reporter Dave Marsh. For whatever it's worth, the piece fits the musician's version of events.

I say "for whatever it's worth" because, even if Townshend is completely innocent of pedophilic behavior and desire—as I hope he is—his actions would still be illegal under Britain's remarkably strict laws. Meanwhile, here in America, journalists have been imprisoned for doing exactly what Townshend claims he was doing.

NEXT: The Jhai Project

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  1. Having just read the linked Townshend article (if you haven’t read, I highly recommend it), I find it entirely believable, and likely, that Pete was preparing a piece about the evils of pedophilia and child abuse in general (physical and emotional), whether it was to be a stand-alone book (as he says in the article from last year) or as part of an autobiography (as he has more recently told the police). Of course, if he was to write such a complex work about the links between pedophelia, suicide and what is readily available on the internet, he would have to know what actually WAS available…and thus the research. But since such “research” is illegal, Pete would have been wise to contact the police, or Scotland Yard, or whomever, to make it understood beforehand that he was doing the research. It probably wouldn’t have made a differance..the law’s the law, for heroes and villians alike. I fear that it is likely that Pete will pay a very heavy price for his attempt at exposing forbidden details of the evils that prey on the meek and the weak of conscience.

  2. Didn’t curiosity kill the cat? In the law there is no distinguishing between inquisitive curiosity and malevolent curiosity. Is an FBI man risking prison if he investigates the evidence of the crimes of the criminals he is investigating? Perhaps not, but then G-Men oughta have special access to that evidence if it’s germane to the crime, for Pete’s sake.

  3. How did the authorities now what Pete was looking at? Surely, they didn’t (*gasp*) look at the material themselves! Wouldn’t this be a criminal act? Wouldn’t that make them, by law, baby lovers? There could be an issue, here. Maybe, by viewing the evidence, the cops are subsidizing kiddie-porn. Who knows, they could be supporting terrorism.

  4. Two points:

    1. Townshend did contact the police beforehand and tell them what he was up to.

    2. I’d think that someone who wanted to do research on child porn would want to look to see what was out there. We hear a lot about it in the press, but they talk a lot of bollocks and historically I’ve seen no evidence that you can believe a thing that is said about it in the mass media.

    You can’t know what’s going on by relying on secondary and tertiary sources. The only way to go to primary sources is to actually go out looking for the stuff. Otherwise, you cannot know what the dimensions of the problem really are. The police lie, so they are no help.

  5. This is an example of the old hardline mentality that it is better to simply ban anything that frightens us (in this case, kiddie porn), rather than making any effort to research it and understand it, even if research and understanding will eventually allow us to better prevent it. Don’t get me wrong – I despise child pornography, but this story just sounds like a witch-hunt against Townshend to me.

  6. There happens to be many articles and cases of
    child pornography. If in fact he was doing research, isn’t that where a responsible person would look ?
    The fact that he PAID for this access to nothing
    more than disgusting pictures indepth biography of these children are supplied. My disgust with this is simple, supply and demand..people keep paying for this disgust and it will never go away. WHO the hell can’t envision what naked children look like. Research the library…moron!

  7. I don’t think its been made clear whether downloading it is the crime or whether simply viewing it is a crime. AP has retracted their earlier reports that he downloaded it – he didn’t. If he viewed the site, is that illegal?
    And, in their efforts to nab those who have viewed it, has Scotland Yard or the FBI made any attempts to find and rescue the poor victims?

  8. There does not appear to be any way to do research on this subject as “possession” , in itself, constitutes a crime. The intent of one who has possession is not a defense. You must either change the Law or convince a Jury not to convict. Neither is an expectation that is reasonable.
    A very well documented group of researchers, with top credentials, could perhaps obtain a Grant to do such study and thus be immune (it’s not certain) from prosecution but such a course would not be for the faint hearted, even in Academia.
    Presuming even the best (and only) motive for his research is as he stated, he is about to discover the Law is the Law is the Law – he is scrod.

  9. EMAIL:
    DATE: 01/21/2004 06:07:40
    If I could get my membership fee back, I’d resign from the human race.

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