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Dutch church accused of castrating young boys in 1950s

At least 10 men and boys under the age of 21 were castrated in a bid to rid them of homosexuality while under the care of the Dutch Roman Catholic Church in the 1950s, a British newspaper reported, citing the work of an investigative journalist.

The Telegraph said on its website that evidence of the castrations has emerged amid a controversy over the omission of that information from the official report on sexual abuse within the church issued last year.

Dutch members of parliament were expected to call for an investigation into the allegations Tuesday, according to The Telegraph’s report.


"I am shocked that boys were being castrated in the 1950s," Khadija Arib, a Labour MP, told The Telegraph. "I want an independent investigation. We must find out how many cases there were, who knew about it and why the government did not act."

 

At least one case has attracted a lot of attention.

The NRC Handelsblad newspaper identified Henk Heithuis, who was castrated in 1956 as a minor after he reportedly went to authorities about abuse he suffered at a Catholic boarding house, The Telegraph reported.

He died two years later in a car crash.

Joep Dohmen, the journalist who uncovered the Heithuis case, told the Telegraph that he found evidence of at least nine other castrations.

"These cases are anonymous and can no longer be traced," he told The Telegraph. "There will be many more. But the question is whether those boys, now old men, will want to tell their story."

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