How do you think the Catholic church should treat allegedly sex abuser priests?
In the summer of 1969, Barbara Blaine, together with a group of junior-high Deaconettes, was invited to dine with Father Chet Warren as a “reward” for helping to clean up after Mass at their parish in Toledo, Ohio. After dinner, Father Warren found an opportunity to be left alone with Blaine to tell her that she was “special” in the eyes of God because she was “holier” than the other girls, and molest her. After the incident, he instructed her to go to confession, tell no one else because no one would understand, and they would not believe her anyway.
Blaine alleged that Father Warren’s abuse went on until her senior year in high school. And she had kept the secret until one day 1985, when she saw a newspaper report about sexual abuses in the Catholic Church, and told her parents about Father Warren, and sent to look for other sex abuse victims.
“I had this basic feeling of being dirty and bad that I carried around for years,” she told The Washington Post in 2002. “I carry with me the sense that I’m a bad person — I think that’s still there.”
Elaine — who died on Sept. 21 at 61 years old — eventually went on to found the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) in 1988. In the initial years, members of SNAP held their meetings n a Chicago homeless shelter and hotel conference room. Today, the network works with more than 20,000 around the world, and organizes advocacy efforts and survivors’ meetings in 60 cities.
SNAP has been credited with successfully lobbying for more “survivor-friendly” laws, including ones that would extend the statute of limitations. In recent years, it has also expanded its scope to include advocacy for sexual abuse victims at schools and in the Boy Scouts.
“Few people have done more to protect kids and help victims than Barbara Blaine,” Barbara Dorris, managing director of SNAP, said in a statement. “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.”
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