The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Who saw, but why'

London, Jan. 12 (Reuters): British rock star Pete Townshend, guitarist with The Who, has admitted paying to view Internet child pornography but denied he was a paedophile and said it was for research purposes.

The guitarist took the unusual step of issuing a public statement after a newspaper said police were investigating an unnamed music star as part of Britain’s largest-ever operation against Internet paedophilia.

In the lengthy statement, Townshend said he had paid to enter an Internet site advertising child pornography “purely to see what was there” as research to fight the crime. “I am not a paedophile. I think paedophilia is appalling,” he said in the statement which was distributed by a woman to reporters outside his home in Richmond.

“On one occasion, I used a credit card to enter a site advertising child porn. I did this purely to see what was there,” he said.

Townshend, 57, said he felt “anger and vengeance” towards those who found child pornography attractive, and said he believed he was sexually abused as a child but could not remember clearly what happened.

“To fight against paedophilia, you have to know what’s out there,” he said, adding that he was involved in an anti-paedophilia campaign that had fizzled out.

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