And you couldn't imagine it could get any sicker. Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad has identified Henk Heithuis, who in 1956, reported priests to the police for abusing him in a Catholic boarding home. He was a minor at the time. In response, the Catholic church labeled him a homosexual and had him castrated.
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."
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. He had accused Catholic clergy of sexually abusing him in his Church-run care home. Two clergymen were later convicted of abuse but Heithuis, a victim, was nonetheless transferred by police to a Catholic psychiatric hospital.
He was later castrated "at his own request", despite no submission of his written consent. The surgical removal of testicles was regarded as a treatment for homosexuality and also as a punishment for those who accused clergy of sexual abuse.
Cornelius Rogge, 79, a well-known Dutch sculptor whose family knew Heithuis in the 1950s, reported the castration to an official inquiry into abuse within the Catholic Church. But his evidence was ignored.