The child porn allegations against Pete Townshend will eventually f-f-fade away. After a four-month investigation, London authorities have declined to file charges against the Who guitarist for surfing a kid-porn website. Police determined that the 57-year-old rocker had visited the site in 1999 but ''was not in possession of any downloaded child abuse images,'' according to a statement released Wednesday. His penalty: a formal caution from the police, plus having his name listed on a national registry of sex offenders for five years.
When he was arrested in January as part of a nationwide child-porn sting, Townshend acknowledged having surfed the Web for such imagery but claimed he did so only for research purposes, for an autobiographical book he was writing that would have cited his own dim memories of having been sexually abused as a child. On Wednesday, Townshend released a statement, saying, ''The police have unconditionally accepted [my] motives in looking at this site and that there was no other nefarious purpose, and as a result they have decided not to charge me. I accept that I was wrong to access this site, and that by doing so, I broke the law, and I have accepted the caution that the police have given me.''
Still, Scotland Yard didn't let him off scot-free. In addition to the formal reprimand, Townshend will have to be listed in a registry of sex offenders for five years, and he must submit his fingerprints, a photo, and a DNA sample to the police.