Experts agree with disgraced evangelist Jimmy Swaggart - pornography is addictive.

And, incredibly, it was Swaggart's own addiction to smut that led to his downfall - just as in others, it has led to brutal rape and murder.

"Pornography is now considered as addictive as drugs, leading, as with any addiction, to a need for escalated 'doses' and intensity," Swaggart wrote in a 1987 column in the Baton Rouge Morning Advocate.

"That, in turn, breeds desensitization, which leads to the acting out of the roles that have been at the heart of the nation's most sensational murder and serial rape cases. Women and children, portrayed as nothing more than debased objects on screen and in print, pay a particularly high price when fantasy turns into reality."

Yet, since his youth, Swaggart has given into the urge to watch unnatural sexual acts, according to a fellow clergyman.

"There has been a history of it for a good while," the Reverend Glen Cole revealed to reporters.

"It would stop for a time and then rise up to happen again."

"Something got hold of him and he just couldn't shake it," said Cole, a member of the national governing body of Swaggart's church.

Swaggart's inability to kick the porn habit no matter how hard he tried isn't unique.

Experts say it is a compulsion every bit as addictive as any drug - and far more dangerous.

"There has not been a sex murder in the history of our department in which the killer was not an avid reader of lewd magazines," said Herbert W. Case, a former Detroit, Michigan, police inspector.