Public prosecutor: foul play in deaths at boys' home

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A Roman Catholic brother gave 37 minors a deadly overdose of medication at a home for disabled boys in the Netherlands. The Dutch public prosecution office has confirmed that the deaths between 1952 and 1954 were the result of foul play.

According to a report just released by the public prosecutor in the Dutch city of Roermond, if Brother Andreas, the nurse named in the report, was still alive and his actions fell within the statute of limitations, he would be charged with murder, manslaughter or involuntary manslaughter.

The report indicates that Andreas, who belonged to a congregation called the Brothers of Saint Joseph, put the permanently bedridden boys to death shortly after they arrived at the home. The medical doctor on staff falsified 37 death certificates to make it look as though the deaths were due to natural causes, the report adds.

Both Andreas and the medical doctor have passed away, though they could only have been prosecuted up until 1972 under the legal time limit for the suspected crimes.

According to the report, authorities at several levels including the Dutch labour inspectorate and the Roman Catholic diocese of Roermond were aware of the deaths and suspected foul play, but covered up the facts.

The spike in deaths at the home in the town of Heel came to light last year when the Deetman Commission, which was investigating sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church, found suspicious evidence in the archives of the diocese of Roermond. The commission publicly turned the case over to the prosecution service.

The public prosecutor informed all of the victims' next of kin of its findings prior to releasing today's report.


@ Radio Netherlands Worldwide