The Tor Project, a nonprofit known for its online anonymity software, says it has verified claims that former employee Jacob Appelbaum engaged in “sexually aggressive behavior” with people inside and outside of its organization. “We have confirmed that the events did take place as reported,” Shari Steele, Tor’s executive director, tells The Verge.
In a blog post today, Steele says that Tor began an investigation into Appelbaum’s behavior after several people came forward with allegations of misconduct in late May. “Many people inside and outside the Tor Project have reported incidents of being humiliated, intimidated, bullied, and frightened by Jacob, and several experienced unwanted sexually aggressive behavior from him,” Steele writes. Steele says the investigation found additional people, beyond those making public accusations, who experienced similar “incidents.”
Appelbaum did not immediately respond to The Verge‘s request for comment. In a statement made in June, he said the allegations were “entirely false.” He resigned from the Tor Project in May.
“I WANT TO THANK ALL THE PEOPLE WHO BROKE THE SILENCE AROUND JACOB’S BEHAVIOR.”
Tor says that, during the course of its investigation, it also found that two additional employees “engaged in inappropriate conduct.” Neither are still with the company.
“I want to thank all the people who broke the silence around Jacob’s behavior,” Steele writes. “It is because of you that this issue has now been addressed. I am grateful you spoke up, and I acknowledge and appreciate your courage.”
Steele says that Tor is now implementing a new anti-harassment policy, as well as a process for submitting complaints and having them reviewed. The changes will be put in place this week. Tor also announced last month that it would replace its entire board of directors. At the time, the outgoing board said the decision was related to “our duty to ensure that the Tor Project has the best possible leadership.”