Pete Townshend, The Who guitarist has admitted in a recent interview that his decision and method in investigating child pornography was insane, but has also felt vilified by comments about him since, after the incident became public knowledge in 2003. Townshend was put on the sex offenders register for five years after it was discovered he'd paid a website dealing in child porn.
The Press Association reports that Townshend was talking to UK newspaper The Times, and attributed his decision to investigate child pornography as "a product of success" and the urge to want "to be seen as the one that's helping." The musicians said "I had experienced something creepy as a child, so you imagine, what if I was a girl of nine or 10 and my uncle had raped me every week? I felt I had an understanding, and I could help." Townshend said that he intended to show that child abuse had a financial chain that ran from Russian orphanages to British banks, by paying for a site, a charge which he cancelled immediately.
Police found nothing incriminating on his computer, but the news was already out and put his reputation on the line. "What I did was insane," said Townshend, who said he didn't speak out sooner "Because there was no sense of 'the truth will out'. I've had the misfortune to read online comments where I'm judged as a paedophile because I've got a big nose."