The Who guitarist Pete Townshend was released from police custody early this morning (Jan. 14), and is resting at home after his arrest on suspicion of possessing indecent images of children, his lawy

The Who guitarist Pete Townshend was released from police custody early this morning (Jan. 14), and is resting at home after his arrest on suspicion of possessing indecent images of children, his lawyer said. Police questioned Townshend at a southwest London police station for an hour and 20 minutes last night, releasing him shortly after midnight, nearly five hours after he was first detained.

A police spokesperson said the legendary musician had signed an agreement saying he would return to the station later in January.

Reporters saw Townshend -- who has acknowledged using a Web site advertising child pornography, but says he was merely doing research for his autobiography -- leaving the station in the back seat of a Mercedes, lying down partially covered by what appeared to be a bag or a coat.

"He is going home to get some rest," his lawyer John Cohen said. "He is tired but all right." Cohen said the guitarist might be required to answer more questions later. Townshend has not been charged with a crime. Under British law, suspects are not charged immediately upon arrest and some arrested people are eventually released without charge.

Townshend looked haggard and pale as he was driven to the police station yesterday. Police did not officially identify him as a suspect, saying only that they had arrested a 57-year-old man on suspicion of making and possessing indecent images of children and of incitement to distribute them. A police spokesperson confirmed privately that the suspect was Townshend.

In a statement on Saturday, Townshend said that on one occasion he had used a credit card to enter a site advertising child pornography. But he said he was not a pedophile and was only doing research for an autobiography dealing with his own suspected childhood sexual abuse. He said he had tremendous rage toward pedophiles and wanted to deal openly with it.

He made the admission after a newspaper reported detectives were investigating an unidentified British rock star for downloading child pornography. In yesterday's edition of the U.K.'s Sun newspaper, Townshend said he did not download the images.

"I have looked at child porn sites maybe three or four times in all, the front pages and previews. I have only entered once using a credit card, and I have never downloaded," the Sun quoted him as saying.

Townshend is well-known for his support of children's charities, including Chicago's Maryville Academy and the U.K.'s Teenage Cancer Trust. In recent years, he and the Who have played benefit concerts supporting both organizations.

Who vocalist Roger Daltrey said he believed Townshend was innocent. "My gut instinct is that he is not a pedophile, and I know him better than most," he was quoted by the Sun as saying before Townshend's arrest. "Pete has perhaps been a little naive the way he has gone about it, but I believe his intentions are good."


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