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Victim of clergy sex abuse in the Netherlands castrated after complaining of abuse

BRUSSELS - A young victim in the care of the Roman Catholic Church in the Netherlands was surgically castrated decades ago after complaining about sexual abuse, according to new evidence that adds to the scandal engulfing the church.

The case, which dates to the 1950s, has increased pressure for a government-led inquiry into sexual abuse in the Dutch church amid suspicions that as many as 10 young men might have suffered the same fate.

It is unclear whether the reported castration was undertaken as a punishment for whistle-blowing or was regarded as an acceptable treatment for homosexuality.

In 2010, about 2,000 people complained of abuse by priests, church institutions, or religious orders after the Roman Catholic Church commissioned an inquiry.


It concluded that the number of victims could be 10 times higher.

That committee, led by Wim Deetman, a former education minister, was presented with evidence of the castration case by a friend of the young man, who was castrated in 1956, two years before his death in a road accident.

Since the case emerged, the commission has said it was unable to reach conclusions from the evidence at its disposal.

The victim, Henk Heithuis, lived in Catholic institutions from the age of 1.

When he complained about sexual abuse to the police, Heithuis, 20 at the time, was transferred to a Catholic psychiatric hospital before being admitted to the St. Joseph Hospital in Veghel, where he was castrated.