Mon, Feb 06, 2017 - Page 5 News List

SNAP founder quits amid accusations of financial irregularity

AP, CHICAGO

The founder of the group that advocates for priest abuse victims has stepped down after three decades of campaigning to force the Catholic Church to recognize the extent of the scandal and compensate thousands of people affected.

Barbara Blaine, president and founder of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), said she was abused herself and the organization was created through her efforts to reach out to other victims, the Chicago Tribune reported (http://trib.in/2jMvDzJ).

“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. I thought they might hold the wisdom I lacked. I looked for other survivors and asked if they would be willing to talk,” Blaine said in a statement.

She and several other top SNAP officials were sued last month by a former employee who said she was fired shortly after asking superiors whether SNAP was referring potential clients to attorneys in return for donations.

SNAP at the end of last month announced that another one of those top officials, former executive direct David Clohessy, had resigned.

Blaine founded SNAP in 1988, years after she was abused as an eighth grader by a Toledo, Ohio priest who taught at the Catholic school she attended, according to the organization’s Web site. Her pleas for help to Toledo’s bishop were ignored.

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

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

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