Dutch Catholics Castrated at Least 10 Teens in 1950s

In bid to rid them of homosexuality, newspaper claims
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 20, 2012 1:27 PM CDT
Dutch Catholics Castrated at Least 10 Teens in 1950s
Dutch top cleric Cardinal Adrianus Simonis, leaves court in Middelburg, Netherlands, after testifying in an investigation into the sexual abuse of a man by a priest, in this Jan. 25, 2011 file photo.   (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

The Dutch Roman Catholic Church castrated at least 10 boys under age 21 "to get rid of homosexuality" in the 1950s, according to a report from Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad. The paper identified one victim, named Henk Heithuis, who in 1956 claimed to have been sexually abused by priests. Two clergymen were eventually convicted, yet police sent Heithuis to a Catholic psychiatric hospital. While under church care, court papers say he was castrated "at his own request," but there's no written consent form.

Sources say the castration was designed to both cure Heithuis' sexuality and punish him for ratting out the clergy. He died in a car accident two years later. The paper said it had evidence of nine similar cases, but that they "are anonymous and can no longer be traced. There will be many more." The report has sparked outrage because the castrations weren't included in an official investigation into sexual abuse last year, the Telegraph reports. One Heithuis family friend relayed the story during the inquiry, but was ignored. (Read more castration stories.)

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