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Monday, January 13, 2003


Speaking of meet the new boss, by now, probably everyone has heard that Pete Townshend of the Who has been arrested in London on suspicion of possession and intent to distribute child pornography. I'm not surprised. That's not to say I believe he's guilty, though. Let me explain.

His web site is down right now, but I have a distinct recollection that he used to write a journal of sorts on his site. I started reading it a few days after September 11, 2001. It was totally fascinating and not like some of the celebrity blogs of today in that he really let you into his life — past, present, and future. He always had good stories to tell. In addition, he oftentimes put his own personal spin on world events.

It was about a year ago when he announced that he was going to stop updating the journal. Shortly after that, I went to his site and, obviously, someone else was managing it for him. I don't think I ever went back.

Getting to the point. Pete likes to help people. One person he was helping, and that he wrote about, had a history of child abuse and, I think, being exposed to child pornography. Pete, in his efforts to help this person, came to believe that he, too, had been abused as a child. I think one the reasons he gave for stopping his journal was so he could figure out what had happened to him as a child.

Because of what happened to the person, he became marginally interested in the subject of child porn. But, not as a participant in any way. More like from a scientific point of view as in delving into the minds of and what prompts people to do this.

I specifically remember him pondering what would happen if, by chance, a person was caught with child porn on his computer because of research. Now he knows. Maybe he was already formulating his defense. I'd like to think not. Again, I emphasize that this is all my own recollection of reading his writings.

Posted by Marie at January 13, 2003 7:55 PM


Hi Marie,

I wish I could have read his diaries. I found this on the Wayback Machine but I can't get to the diaries.

Its good to be back.(Home and online)


Posted by: Katherine at January 15, 2003 12:58 PM

I just went to that web site. Very interesting. I definitely remember reading that. Thanks for the link.

Welcome home!

Posted by: Marie at January 16, 2003 12:47 AM

Thank you for your comments on this case. I thought you might be interested in an update. Many details were not made public at the time.

Pete Townshend is a anti-child porn advocate who was arrested in January as part of Operation Landslide, an FBI bust of a Texas child porn gateway site. Townshend was subjected to "trial by tabloid" which trashed his reputation, but was eventually cleared by a UK police investigation. However, because of the laws on sex offenses his name was added to the UK Sex Offender Register.

A child abuse survivor group in the UK are now supporting Pete Townshend and have posted a petition asking that his name be removed from the Sex Offender register. They are also asking for more police discretion on who goes on the (very broad) UK list, so that it will become a better tool to track dangerous sex offenders.

Many details of this case were not published in the press, and it is unfortunate that the anti-child porn cause has now lost Pete Townshend as an advocate. Also, considering his experiences, it's unlikely that any other celebrities will take on this cause. Townshend's fans knew he was investigating child porn for some years, because he published about the results. He has said he first ran across child porn on the Internet in researching orphanages. Then his young son blundered into a site that was disguised as a child's game. After that, Townshend researched and published information on the
extent of child porn on the Internet, and also information on how to protect your children from victimization. He offered increased assistance through his Double-O charity for victims of abuse and addiction. And also very important, he published some well thought out points on stopping the child porn industry. All this was before his arrest.

The huge amounts of time that police devote to tracking down users of child porn are wasted as far as stopping the industry goes. The pornographers are mostly in Asia and Russia where they're difficult to get at, but the child porn industry is supported by financial interests like credit card companies, authorization companies and ISPs that make millions off the sites every month. These companies look the other way because of the huge amounts of money involved. After the publicity surrounding Townshend's arrest, VISA came forward to say they would no longer service sites that offer child porn, but other companies continue to do so. Please pass the word about this, and contact your government represetnatives to ask that they prosecute companies that facilitate the sale of child porn. Without support for Internet distribution, the industry will die.

For more information on the Pete Townshend investigation, go to

I am not affiliated with either Pete Townshend or Phoenix Survivors.

Posted by: L. Buis at June 21, 2003 4:46 PM