Since the story of Townshend sex offender past broke nationally a week ago, which has been a subject of debate and argument, only one question matters.
Was Pete Townshend a registered sex offender in the UK from 2003 to 2008? Answer: Yes.
Well that's that then. Sorry Pete. This precludes you from not only playing at the Super Bowl, it also stops you from entering the United States to begin with.
Since the NFL decided to hire Pete Townshend for the upcoming Super Bowl event all hell has broken loose. Child AbuseWatch, the international child prevention group, have been trying for some time to bring attention to Townshend's sex offender status. Most notably was the Kennedy Center Awards event last year when they wrote to the organizers protesting the honoring of someone with sex offender history.
Most recently they have asked the NFL to drop Townshend from the Super Bowl. In a way they are doing the NFL a favor. How? When the family values groups get hold of this they're going to rip the NFL and their sponsors apart. It could indeed prove to be an incredibly expensive mistake on the NFL's part to not read more than Townshend publicists take on Pete's past when they were planning the half time show.
Another national advocacy group, Protect Our Children, headed by Kevin Gillick has taken the NFL protest a step further; two steps actually. They have made a lot of noise with the Immigration and Naturalization Department and ICE begging to ask how a registered sex offender, with criminal record, has been given free reign to enter the US.
U.S. immigration law says authorities will deny entrance to "Aliens convicted of, and those who admit having committed a crime involving moral turpitude (or an attempt or conspiracy to commit such a crime)." Townshend admitted to having broken the law in his search for child pornography. 'How he has been given access to the U.S. remains a mystery or perhaps it's another demonstration of celebrity privilege,' Mr. Gillick said.
The second aspect of Protect Our Children's campaign has a definitely more local sting in its tail. A letter has been sent to Florida Attorney General McCullom, demanding that Townshend comply with Florida law, specifically Florida Statute 775.21, which applies to anyone with a sex offender background.
They have asked that Townshend be taken into custody upon his reentry into Florida so that the provisions of FS775.21 may be applied - Sexual Offenders and Predators (see link below). This would include the requirement to register with local police and provide fingerprint, mug-shot and D.N.A. samples as required by law.
Media coverage has been intense since the Palm Beach Post journalist Jose Lambiet broke the story on December 22, 2009. Both Daly and Gillick have been giving interviews from Toronto to London.
Reference:Florida Statute 775.21