Following revelations concerning the deaths of 34 boys in the 1950s in a Catholic home for the mentally handicapped, it has now been discovered that 40 girls also died at another home between 1952 and 1954.
A regional TV channel requested information on the number of deaths at the St. Anna institution in the southern Dutch town of Heel near Roermond from local authorities and found that the most of the girls who died from 1952-1954 were younger than 12 years old. The deaths included babies and toddlers.
The deaths of the boys at the former St. Joseph institution were reported by the Deetman Commission, which is investigating the sexual abuse of children in the Roman Catholic Church.
An investigation of archives by the Deetman Commission revealed that the number of deaths in the early 1950s was much higher than average. It is not clear why the rate dropped back down after 1954. All the cases were boys under 18 but, unlike the girls, they were all older than 11.
The Dutch Public Prosecution Office has begun an inquiry into the deaths of the boys, but has indicated that prosecutions will not follow, given the time lapse. A spokesperson told a local newspaper there is no reason to start an investigation into the deaths of the girls. “You have to see the situation in connection with other information,” the spokesperson added.
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