Obituary: Barbara Blaine, founder of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Barbara Blaine, child abuse campaigner. Born: Toledo, Ohio. Died: 24 September, 2017, aged 61

Child abuse campaigner Barbara Blaine has died at the age of 61. Picture: AP
Child abuse campaigner Barbara Blaine has died at the age of 61. Picture: AP

Barbara Blaine, the founder and former president of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, has died at the age of 61.

The organisation known as SNAP announced on its Facebook page that Blaine died following a recent cardiac event.

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In a statement, SNAP managing director Barbara Dorris praised Blaine’s work with victims of clergy sexual abuse.

“Few people have done more to protect kids and help victims than Barbara Blaine,” Dorris said. “Her contributions to a safer society would be hard to overstate.”

Blaine founded SNAP in 1988, years after she was abused as an eighth grader by a priest in Toledo, Ohio, who taught at the Catholic school she attended, according to the organisation’s website. Her pleas for help to Toledo’s bishop were ignored. The first SNAP meeting of victims was held at a Chicago hotel.

The group gained prominence in 2002 after the Boston Globe’s stories on the priest sexual abuse scandal that rocked the Catholic Church.

SNAP now has more than 20,000 members and support groups meet in over 60 cities across the US and the world.

Blaine resigned in February. She did not give a reason, but Blaine and other SNAP officials were sued in January by a former employee who said she was dismissed after asking superiors whether the organisation was referring potential clients to attorneys in return for donations.