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Pittsburgh Diocese Wants to Use Needy Children Funds to Pay Sexual Abuse Claims

The office of state Attorney General Josh Shapiro is pressing its opposition to a bid by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh to draw money from a $8 million-plus trust fund, dedicated to needy children, to pay compensation to adult victims of sexual abuse.

State law does not “allow a charitable trust to be terminated to pay the potential legal obligations of the trustee for its alleged criminal activity in direct contravention to the terms of the trust,” said a legal brief filed Tuesday in Allegheny County Orphans’ Court by Gene Herne, senior deputy attorney general.

But the diocese says aiding survivors of abuse would fit within the spirit of the century-old trust fund, which has aided needy children even into their young adult years, with a particular mission of educating them and providing vocational and living skills.

“These funds will provide for the care, education, training, maintenance and treatment of those who were abused as children to assist them to make an adjustment to life and work in accordance with their abilities,” attorney Robert Ridge, representing the diocese, said in a court filing Wednesday.

Read more at Pittsburgh Post Gazette