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Police Reschedule Townshend Questioning

Police in London have pushed back the date that the Who's Pete Townshend has to return for further inquiry regarding three suspected child pornography offenses: possessing, making and distributing indecent images of children.

The 57-year-old rock legend was due to be questioned on Monday, but police have rescheduled the interrogation for sometime in February, said a spokesperson for Scotland Yard, who would not reveal whether the delay was at Townshend's request or if the police need more time to gather evidence.

Townshend was arrested on January 13 as part of a widespread crackdown on people who view child pornography over the Internet.

In the days before his arrest, the guitarist proclaimed his innocence, saying he paid to view a child porn site and browsed through other free sites to conduct research for his upcoming autobiography, which will include material about how he may have been abused in his youth.

In the United States there is no legal defense for viewing child pornography, but in England those who look at it for "legitimate" reasons can be exempted.

Townshend continues to insist he has always been appalled by child pornography, and that he has taken numerous steps in the past to oppose it, including posting a lengthy diatribe on his Web site, giving money to the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children's Full Stop campaign and reporting child porn Web sites to the Internet Watch Foundation.

In a post Wednesday on www.petetownshend.com, Townshend wrote that he has procured evidence from the IWF that he thinks will clear his name. A founder from the organization had previously claimed no knowledge of having been contacted by the guitarist, but the IWF admitted it made a mistake.

"I, of course, know that I did communicate with them several times last year, and they have now supplied to us copies of my e-mails to them, one in August and the rest in November," Townshend wrote. "My lawyers have written to the founder of the IWF, Mark Stephens, who was adamant that they had never heard from me, asking for an explanation."

In February, when Townshend again appears before the police, he will either be "rebailed" (asked to return pending further investigation), cleared or charged, police said. If charged for accessing child porn, he could face five years in jail. However, if he's charged for forwarding an e-mail containing such material he could face up to 10 years behind bars.

This report is from MTV News
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