At their annual meeting in 2002, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) drafted a landmark document in response to the crisis of sexual abuse of children. This document, setting forth their agreed upon responsibilities in combating the problem, was titled the:
The charter specifically addressed the following tasks:
- Reaching out to victim/survivors of sexual abuse and responding promptly to any allegation where there is reason to believe abuse of a minor occurred
- Reporting allegations of abuse to civil authorities
- Removal of clergy with credible allegations of abuse
- Implementing "Safe Environment" programs and policies designed to ensure necessary safety and security for all children as they participate in church and religious activities
The USCCB is an assembly of the hierarchy of the United States and the U.S. Virgin Islands who jointly exercise certain pastoral functions on behalf of the Christian faithful of the United States. The purpose of the conference is to promote the greater good which the Church offers humankind, especially through forms and programs of the apostolate fittingly adapted to the circumstances of time and place.