SNAP Founder, Abuse Victims’ Advocate Barbara Blaine Dies

CHICAGO (CBS) — A longtime advocate for victims of sex abuse at the hands of clergy has died.

Barbara Blaine, founder of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, was 61.

“From running a homeless shelter that she helped found, to acting as a tireless voice for those sexually abused who might otherwise have been silenced by the Catholic Church, Barbara was a fierce and tireless warrior on behalf of social justice. Her passion for progressive and compassionate advocacy was only matched by the love she felt towards family. Those fortunate enough to have known her are readily familiar with the absolute commitment she felt towards her close circle; we were all lucky to have been graced by her love,” her family said in a statement provided by SNAP.

Blaine started SNAP in 1988, well after she was abused by a Catholic Priest in Toledo, Ohio, according to the group’s website.

Relatives said Blaine died Sunday, surrounded by family, after suffering a cardiac event last week.

“From the window in her room, she was basked in the bright sunlight cascading off the serene Utah landscape. Barbara loved hiking those rocky climbs with Howard, and her indomitable spirit was in harmony with the unshakable vistas,” her family said.

Blaine left SNAP in February without citing a reason. Her family said they will hold a celebration of her life at a future date.

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