Jan 13, 2003 Townshend arrested by British police in child
He was given a tip-off that the police were going to raid
his home three days before they arrived.
His credit card usage to access a child porn site was
traced to him through Operation Ore the British
counterpart of the US Operation Avalanche.
When confronted by the British police, he admitted
using his credit card to access a child pornography
Townshend claimed he was researching a book which has
never been written. At another time he claimed he was
researching child porn to protect his son.
He confessed guilt to a crime. He was thus given a
'caution' from the British police and avoided a trial.
(U.S. equivalent of a guilty plea with adjudication
withheld – see note 1 on a 'caution' below under
Bob McLachlan, former head of Scotland Yard's pedophile
unit slammed the caution as 'totally inappropriate.'
He said: 'Why is this rock star being given such lenient
treatment when he has accepted a caution and therefore
admits his guilt? Townshend claims he only did it for research, a common excuse used by pedophiles.'
His admission to using his credit card to access a child
porn website and that he had viewed child pornography
images was the central component of his guilty plea.
A Scotland Yard statement stressed that access and payment
for child abuse images was an offence.
London Times May
He had access to his attorneys at all times. He avoided
charges beyond a caution as the police did not detect any images of
child rape on his 14 computers.
Townshend was never cleared of his offence and remained on
the Sex Offender registry for the full five years 2003 –
Townshend had to give a DNA sample, check in with the
British police regularly and inform them of his movements
during his Sex Offender registration.
London Times, in an article published on May 8,
2003, stated that Townshend will also have a lifelong
criminal record for the caution.
On June 22, 2006 the
London Times reported that
Townshend had withdrawn an ‘ill-advised’ teen sex story
from his blog which depicted graphic teen sex. He told the
Daily Mail: ‘I've taken down my story. I want to make it
clear that I respect the requirements of the sex offenders
register without condition.’
Breaking conditions of a caution results in the original
offense being prosecuted in a British court.
Confusion was introduced into the Townshend case by
British investigative journalist Duncan Campbell in an
article he wrote for the
(041907) where he stated “(Operation) Ore has dragged big
names into the spotlight - such as the musicians Pete
Townshend, the Who guitarist, and Robert del Naja of
Massive Attack, both falsely accused of accessing child
Campbell said this even though he knew that Townshend had
admitted to breaking the law and had accepted the
consequences. Why Campbell said what he said remains a
matter of conjecture. Del Naja was cleared. Townshend
Campbell’s arguments against Operation Ore, initially well
received, were cast under a shadow when the computer
expert he used, Jim Bates of Computer Investigations, was
convicted in March 2008 of falsifying (he lied) his qualifications
and given a six-month suspended prison sentence. As a self
proclaimed pioneer of forensic computer analysis, Bates
had until his conviction been used widely by police and
prosecutors. He is no longer used as an expert witness by
prosecutors. See 'How police put their faith in the
'expert' witness who was a fraud'
Guardian UK March 23, 2008
Smoking Gun carries an 8-page article on
Townshend from 2003 (see link below). A notable quote on
the Smoking Gun reads as follows:
Townshend's paper, which he once posted on his official
web site, also notes that the "pathway to 'free'
pedophilic imagery is--as it were--laid out like a free
line of cocaine at a decadent cocktail party: only the
strong willed or terminally uncurious can resist." In the
January 2002 porn treatise, Townshend notes that since
1997 he has been working on "some kind of document"
relating to Internet porn, but that he feared being
arrested by police who were on a "witch hunt" to catch
anyone who visited illicit web pages: "Those vigilantes
who research these pathways open themselves up to internet
The FBI’s manual for law enforcement when dealing with
Child Molesters – Child Molesters: a behavioral
analysis (available free at the link below) - the
following excerpt is of relevance when dealing with those
caught accessing child pornography - titles and page
“Concerned Civilians” (P93 - 94)
Many individuals who report information to the
authorities about deviant sexual activity they have
discovered on the Internet must invent clever excuses for
how and why they came upon such material. They often start
out pursuing their own sexual/deviant interests, but then
decide to report to law enforcement either because it went
too far, they are afraid authorities might have monitored
them, or they need to rationalize their perversions as
having some higher purpose or value. Rather than honestly
admitting their own deviant interests, they make up
elaborate explanations to justify finding the material.
Some claim to be journalists; researchers; or outraged,
concerned members of society trying to protect a child or
help law enforcement.
One especially sensitive area for investigators is the
preferential sex offender who presents himself as a
concerned civilian reporting what he inadvertently
“discovered” in cyberspace or requesting to work with law
enforcement to search for child pornography and protect
children. Other than the obvious benefit of legal
justification for their past or future activity, most do
this as part of their need to rationalize their behavior
as worthwhile and gain access to children. When these
offenders are caught, instead of recognizing this activity
as part of their preferential pattern of behavior, the
courts sometimes give them leniency because of their “good