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Pete Townshend Says Police Told Him ‘We Knew You Weren’t a Pedophile’

Pete Townshend
Gareth Cattermole, Getty Images

A full 15 years after it was announced, Pete Townshend‘s memoir, ‘Who I Am,’ arrives on bookstore shelves today (Oct. 9) — which, for Townshend, means reliving the 2003 legal troubles that he’s always insisted stemmed from research he was doing for the book.

As fans no doubt recall, Townshend was netted as part of a broad-based attempt by U.K. law enforcement to curtail the spread of child pornography. Dubbed Operation Ore, the investigation turned up a credit card transaction Townshend had initiated at a site trafficking in the illicit material, and he was subsequently cautioned by police.

Townshend always vigorously maintained his innocence, saying he’d entered the site to do research for his book; according to the Who guitarist, he was the victim of sexual abuse as a child, and by visiting the site, he was attempting to sort out his personal memories and feelings about his past.

The subject came up again in a recent interview with the BBC, and although he led off by cautioning that “on this particular topic you have to read the book,” Townshend did pause to reiterate his innocence.

“I did nothing wrong,” insisted Townshend. “I did not enter the website. I did make the transaction, which I immediately cancelled. There was no evidence except the mea culpa of the credit card. I was charged, cautioned and put on the sex offenders register as a signal. I don’t think it was quite right.”

And according to Townshend, law enforcement knew he was innocent. “I got a letter from a policeman three or four days ago who headed up the investigation,” he revealed. “He said: ‘We knew you weren’t a pedophile – we knew you weren’t a child molester.”

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