Culture

Founder of Clergy Sex Abuse Victims Group Dies at 61

Founder of Clergy Sex Abuse Victims Group Dies at 61”

Lawyers for priests accused SNAP of coaching victims to fabricate claims of repressed memories, and a lawsuit filed by a former employee claimed that SNAP exploited victims of sexual abuse by clergy in return for financial kickbacks from attorneys, an allegation Blaine disputed.

SNAP, she said, "did what the church community refused to do".

In a 2012 interview, she told the Tirbune that she never envisioned a combative relationship with the Catholic Church.

According to a statement from her family, she died while on vacation in St. George, Utah, days after suffering a spontaneous coronary artery dissection - a torn blood vessel in the heart.

"Few people have done more to protect kids and help victims than Barbara Blaine", she said "Her relentless advocacy enabled millions to eventually accept a long unbelievable reality: That tens of thousands of priests raped and fondled hundreds of thousands of kids while bishops hid these heinous crimes". She lobbied IL legislators to extend the civil statute of limitations so victims of decades-old clergy sex abuse could seek financial recourse. Her family said they will hold a celebration of her life at a future date.

She organized an initial meeting of victims at a Chicago hotel in 1988, and, encouraged by its success, developed the idea into a national network focused on advocacy and healing.

"I knew there were other survivors out there and wondered if they felt the same debilitating hurt and if so, how they coped with it, " Ms. Blaine said in a statement in February. She received a settlement from the church. "I never realized it would take so long".

Saviano and others in the New England chapter, along with Ms. Blaine and former SNAP national director David Clohessy, were important sources during the Globe Spotlight Team's investigation of the coverup of clergy sexual abuse in the Boston Archdiocese.

The series, which included the revelation that one Boston priest had molested more than 130 children while the church moved him from parish to parish, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in public service.

Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta, who was president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops at the height of the scandal in 2002, recalled on Monday that he had first met Ms. Blaine when he was an auxiliary bishop in Chicago. They also instructed her not to tell law enforcement.

Here are some of Blaine's famous sayings about SNAP, abuse, and the victims, to remember her contributions to building a safer society. It was the first and last time she would be asked to address the bishops. American bishops eventually adopted a zero-tolerance policy and pledged to remove priests credibly accused of abuse. Blaine resigned from her post in the organization in February; however, she did not specify a reason.

Barbara Ann Blaine was born on July 6, 1956, and grew up Toledo. Blaine said her decision was part of her overall plan to retire from leading the organization on an everyday basis.

As the director of the Catholic Worker House on Chicago's South Side, she worked with then-Cardinal Joseph Bernardin's administration to house and feed the homeless.

Abuse by Warren, she said, caused her grades to suffer in high school and led her to distance herself from her family as well as from men. She received a bachelor's degree from Saint Louis University, a master's degree in social work from Washington University in St. Louis and a master of divinity degree from the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago.

"Now I understand it's a lifelong process", she told the Tribune.

Besides her husband, she leaves her stepsons, Brett and Joshua Rubin; two step-grandsons; three brothers; and four sisters, one of them her twin.



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