March 3, 2022
Dear ILF Supporters:
We are writing to update all of you regarding the situation facing Chris Hadnagy and his role with the Innocent Lives Foundation. The mission of the ILF is to identify and stop individuals who prey on children. It goes without saying that we take accusations – internal or external – very seriously.
Many of you have raised legitimate questions about how we as an organization have responded to DEF CON’s decision to ban Chris from their conference. Specifically, supporters have said they have felt in the dark – both about our internal review process as well as our effort to communicate with our team members, volunteers, supporters, and donors.
First and foremost, we apologize for our lack of clarity and communication. All of us are working to create an open, responsive organization and we will continue to try to improve and achieve that goal.
It is critical for our community to know that, during our entire review process of this situation, the ILF Board of Directors remained:
- Mission First. The mission of the ILF is larger than any single person. Our number one priority is to respect and facilitate the work our team members and volunteers do to protect children from abuse.
- Independent. Chris Hadnagy is the Founder of the ILF, CEO, and a member of the Board of Directors. From the outset of the Board’s consideration of this issue, Chris voluntarily waived his voting rights as a Board Member. All decisions made by the Board with regard to Chris and the DEF CON issue were made without Chris’ vote or influence.
- Deliberate and Fact-based. We attempted to understand exactly what the facts of the accusations to DEF CON were and why DEF CON made their decision.
- On-Going. The ILF will continue to monitor this situation. If we receive new facts from DEF CON, we will reconvene and evaluate new information.
The following details the specific timeline and steps the Board took to investigate, review and respond to DEF CON’s decision regarding Chris:
Thursday, February 10, 2022
- The ILF became aware of DEF CON’s announcement.
- Chris notified the Board that he had on multiple occasions requested a meeting with DEF CON leadership.
- Available members of the ILF team (ILF employees, volunteers, and ambassadors) and board members met to review the events of the day.
Friday, February 11, 2022
- The ILF requested that Chris address the situation directly and send an email to our stakeholders because we did not want ILF supporters to learn about this issue through social media or other indirect means.
- ILF leadership agreed to meet formally with the full board on Monday, February 14.
- The ILF decided not to issue a formal response until it had fully considered all available facts and discussed them with all interested parties.
Monday, February 14, 2022
- The full Board, including Chris, convened to review available information about DEF CON’s decision as well as related commentary and rumors.
- DEF CON failed to provide the accusations against Chris or to explain their decision to ban him.
- NOTE: Protecting accuser identity is, and always has been, a priority and founding principle for our organization and we would never consider requesting information regarding any accuser. We do, however, believe that it is fair and appropriate to confirm the content and substance of any accusation before we take any action, whether internally or with regard to any work that the organization does.
- After considering the available information, the Board unanimously voted to retain Chris as CEO and a board member.
- The Board also agreed that this was a developing situation and that it would continue to consider and evaluate any new facts should they become available.
Wednesday, February 16, 2022
- The ILF team was notified at our previously-scheduled monthly General Team Meeting that the Board met and made the decisions described above.
- In order to provide as much information to all ILF stakeholders, ILF leadership began reaching out to supporters with instructions on how to schedule a time to discuss the matter further.
This is an ongoing matter and one we take very seriously. As new facts become available, we will update you and our entire dedicated team.
It is also important for everyone to know that we are listening to your feedback. We are currently conducting an audit of our internal review and communication processes in order to strengthen them.
As a supporter of the ILF, you deserve to know that we are working hard to operate in the best way possible and that nothing will distract us from our mission: identifying anonymous child predators and helping bring them to justice.
Thank you again for your continued support – the ILF and our mission depend upon it!
The ILF Board of Directors