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Dutch brother suspected in deaths of 37 disabled boys in 1950s

Catholic World News - June 29, 2012

Authorities in the Netherlands suspect that the head of a Catholic institution caring for disabled boys in the early 1950s may have been responsible for the deaths of up to 37 patients.

An unusually large number of boys died at the St. Joseph Institute between 1952 and 1954, when Brother Andreas was in charge. The death rate declined after he was replaced. An investigation reached the conclusion that the deaths “were more likely to have died as a result of a crime than of natural causes.” Prosecutors said that they would not investigate the cases further, since the suspects—Brother Andreas and the doctor who cared for the boys--are now deceased. Most potential witnesses are also dead, and the boys who may have been killed have been buried for so long that toxicology tests would probably not produce useful results.

The Diocese of Roermond, where the St. Joseph Institute is located, issued a statement describing the results of the investigation as “shocking” and admitting that it is difficult to understand why the high death rate did not prompt a reaction at the time.

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