The Dutch Catholic Church castrated at least one and possibly ten boys abused by priests in the 1950s, a Dutch newspaper has reported. It says that they were mutilated to ‘help their homosexual feelings.’
The castrations were not include in the Netherlands Catholic Church’s comprehensive report into sexual abuse last year, despite being reported to the inquiry, because of a ‘lack of leads’ and because any reporting could be tied to identifiable individuals. That report covered abuse by 800 priests and monks between 1945 and 1985.
In the confirmed case, a teenager, Henk Heithuis, who had reported being sexually abused by priests in his children’s home to the police in 1956, was removed to a Catholic-run psychiatric institution where he was then castrated because of his ‘homosexual behavior.’ The report said that others were castrated to ‘punish those who blew the whistle on abusers.’
The report also says that a former Prime Minister, from a Catholic party, tried to get prison sentences dropped against several priests accused of abusing children, and that local government authorities knew about the castrations.
The report has led to Dutch MPs and the national organization of clerical child sex abuse victims (KLOKK) calling for the inquiry into abuse of children to be reopened.
KLOKK chairman Guid Klabbers said that the news showed that the child abuse inquiry had failed to uncover all abuses:
“We’ve had many grave rape cases, but this is even worse. This is a case of extreme abuse of power and perverse pleasure in wielding power. Sheer horror.”
The Dutch Bishops’ Conference said that the allegations, if true, constitute a grave situation which they condemn and regret in the strongest terms possible.
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