Minister who was addicted to porn says case not rare

When the Rev. Darrell Brazell, an evangelical minister, first heard that police had found thousands of pornographic images on former Christian-school leader Martin K. Miller’s home computer, he wasn’t surprised.

“They said they found something like 6,000 images,” Brazell said. “That sounds like a lot, but it’s not. You can download that much in a very short amount of time.”

Brazell knows. He admitted to being addicted to pornography for 15 years.

“I suspect if there was a forensic examination of all the personal computers in Lawrence, some similar-size collections would show up in some very shocking places,” said Brazell, pastor at New Hope Fellowship, 1449 Kasold Drive.

Brazell, who said he’s been “clean” for five years, counsels and coordinates faith-based support groups for men addicted to pornography.

He said he’s met several times with Miller, who was convicted last month of strangling his wife, Mary E. Miller, 46, a librarian at Kansas University. Brazell did not meet Marty Miller until after the man was charged with first-degree murder and was free on bond.

Darren Brazell, pastor at New Hope Fellowship, was addicted to pornography for 15 years. Convicted killer Martin K. Miller says Brazell helped him overcome his own addiction.

During his trial, Miller credited Brazell with helping him overcome his addiction, noting that he had given up porn Sept. 15, which was almost two months after his wife was killed.

Miller also testified he first had a “problem” with pornography when he was 10 or 11 years old.

His ever-escalating addiction, Miller said, caused him to participate in an online adult dating service, which led to his having an extramarital affair with a Eudora woman that included role-playing, bondage, spanking and explicit photographs.

Prosecutors argued that Miller, a carpenter, wanted his wife out of the way so he’d be free to pursue sexual relationships with other women and so he could collect more than $300,000 in life-insurance money.

Clearly, Brazell said, Miller’s addiction to pornography caused him to act irrationally.

“That’s the bottom-line evidence of addiction: You do something you don’t want to do,” he said.

Christian men, Brazell said, are especially susceptible to becoming addicted to pornography and, consequently, masturbation.

“As a Christian, you believe that pornography and masturbation are morally wrong,” he said. “And yet, because of so many issues that we grow up with, you’re attracted to it, which causes all kinds of shame and guilt – you’re in pain.”

Getting help

In Lawrence, help in dealing with pornography addiction is available by contacting:

¢ Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center

200 Maine


¢ New Hope Fellowship

1449 Kasold Drive


¢ Headquarters Counseling Center


Headquarters staff will refer callers to private counseling available within and near Lawrence.

As this pain intensifies, Brazell said, so too does the attraction to pornography.

“You wind up in this downward spiral that after a while, you can’t get out of,” he said. “The addict within you does things the rational self would never do.”

Non-Christians, Brazell said, may be less vulnerable to pornography addiction because they experience less shame.

Miller testified that his addiction was so out of control that after he was charged in his wife’s murder and released on bond, he used money from his children’s bank account to buy a new computer to replace the machine seized by police.

He said he intended to use the computer for business, but soon began logging onto pornographic Web sites and accessing adult dating sites.

Miller attributed his actions to habit and curiosity.

“Some of it (was) fantasy,” he said.

Brazell called pornographic Web sites the “crack cocaine of sex addiction.”

The sites are especially addictive, he said, because they’re easy to find, relatively cheap and, as long as they don’t involve children, perfectly legal. Soliciting child pornography is a crime.

Viagra at 20

Cynthia Akagi, an assistant health education professor at Kansas University, agreed that as a group, Christian men are most vulnerable to becoming addicted to pornography. But that’s not to say non- or lesser-Christians are trouble-free.

“My concern is the effect that consistently viewing pornography has on personal relationships,” she said. “If you’re a male, you tend to see women as sex objects who want to have sex 24 hours a day. And you set some unrealistic expectations for yourself, which is why we’re seeing 20-somethings using Viagra off the Internet.”

Martin Miller, who testified that he had a pornography addiction, was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday afternoon for the murder of his wife, Mary E. Miller. Martin turned to his mother, Ocoee, and asked her to call him.

Akagi said male students tell her it’s common for them to log on to a “favorite porn site when their partner’s not around.”

“Keep in mind, this is a generation that’s grown up on the Internet,” she said.

Akagi said she’s surprised that for much of society, pornography addiction remains under the radar.

“As a health educator, I’d like to see more reaching out – saying, ‘Men – Christian or non-Christian – if you’re viewing porn every night after your wife goes to bed, you have a problem. Call us for help.'”

She added, “Many things break up marriages these days, and this is certainly one of them.”

At Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center, Marciana Crothers, an addiction specialist, said few people have sought counseling for pornography addiction.

“Typically, we see people who are more disturbed by someone else’s use of pornography,” Crothers said. “I’ve only had one couple come in (seeking help) for themselves.”

Crothers attributed the low numbers to the inherent differences between pornography and alcohol, drugs and gambling. Porn addiction is easier to maintain and hide.

“First of all, as long as it’s not child pornography, it’s legal and readily accessible – unlike drugs,” she said. “Second, when you’re drinking, your friends and family get tired of you and start to leave you alone. It’s an abandonment that may cause you to seek treatment.

“But with the Internet, you can take part in these adult chat rooms and have unlimited access to people,” she said. “It’s a lot easier to hide than, say, a drinking problem.”

Those addicted to gambling, she said, often seek treatment because they’ve bankrupted their families. But the Internet, she said, is loaded with free or low-cost pornography.

It’s also true, Brazell said, that being addicted to pornography carries a stigma that gambling, alcohol and drugs do not.

“It’s much more shameful and difficult to admit to having a sexual addiction,” Brazell said. “You can talk about being addicted to alcohol or drugs and it’s, ‘OK, sure, yeah, here’s who can help.’ But as soon as you say the word ‘sex,’ you’re a pervert or some kind of child molester.”

Brazell said most of the men who take part in his support groups drive in from out of town.

“There aren’t a lot resources out there,” he said. “Most churches are too terrified to deal with this.”