PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania — A judge has denied a request by the Diocese of Pittsburgh to use an $8 million-plus fund for needy children to help compensate victims of sexual abuse by priests.

The diocese unsuccessfully argued that compensating adults traumatized as children would fit the spirit of the Toner Institute Trust Fund’s purpose. Attorney General Josh Shapiro opposed the request.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Monday that an Allegheny County judge denied the diocese’s request last week.

More than 360 individuals have filed claims against the diocese under a victim compensation program set up earlier this year.

That followed last year’s grand jury report that said hundreds of Catholic priests abused at least a thousand children over seven decades in six Pennsylvania dioceses and accused senior church officials of systematically covering up complaints.

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