Evidence of the castrations has been made public amid controversy that this evidence was not included in last year’s investigation into sexual abuse within the church.

The case of Hank Heithuis, who was castrated in 1956 after reporting sexual abuse in his Catholic church-run care home to police, was uncovered by investigative journalist Joep Dohmen.

Dohmen said that he also found evidence of nine other castrations.

“These cases are anonymous and can no longer be traced,” Dohmen 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 aged 20.

Two clergymen were convicted of abuse after Heithuis made his report about the care home to police. But the police then transferred Heithuis to a Catholic psychiatric hospital, and he was later admitted to the St. Joseph Hospital in Veghel.

It was here, court papers confirm, that he was castrated “at his own request” – although there is no evidence of his written consent. Sources apparently told Dohmen that the surgical removal of testicles was regarded as a treatment for homosexuality, and also as a punishment for those who accused the Catholic clergy of sexual abuse.

Evidence has also emerged to show that government inspectors were aware that minors were being castrated while in Catholic-run psychiatric institutions.

Minutes of meetings held in the 1950s show that inspectors were present when these castrations were discussed.

Picture: Getty