Dutch Roman Catholic Church ‘Castrated at Least 10 Boys’
At least 10 teenage boys or young men under the age of 21 were
surgically castrated “to get rid of homosexuality” while in the care of
the Dutch Roman Catholic Church in the 1950s.
Evidence of the castrations has emerged amid controversy that it was not
included in the findings of an official investigation into sexual abuse
within the church last year.
The NRC Handelsblad newspaper identified Henk Heithuis who was castrated in
1956, while a minor, after reporting priests to the police for abusing him
in a Catholic boarding home.
Joep Dohmen, the investigative journalist who uncovered the Heithuis case,
also found evidence of at least nine other castrations. “These cases
are anonymous and can no longer be traced,” he said. “There will
be many more. But the question is whether those boys, now old men, will want
to tell their story.”
Mr Heithuis died in a car crash in 1958, two years after being castrated at
the age of 20, while under the age of majority, which was then 21.
In 1956 he had accused Catholic clergy of sexually abusing him in his Church
run care home.
Two clergymen were convicted of abuse but Mr Heithuis, a victim, was
nonetheless transferred by police to a Catholic psychiatric hospital before
being admitted to the St. Joseph Hospital in Veghel later that year.
There, court papers confirm, he was castrated “at his own request”,
despite no submission of his written consent. Sources told Mr Dohmen that
the surgical removal of testicles was regarded as a treatment for
homosexuality and also as a punishment for those who accused clergy of
Cornelius Rogge, 79, a well-known Dutch sculptor whose family knew Mr Heithuis
in the 1950s, reported the castration to an official inquiry into abuse
within the Catholic Church. But his evidence was ignored.
“We once asked Henk to drop his pants when the women were gone. He did
that. He was maimed totally. It was a huge shock,” he said…