Former CDC Director Frieden arrested on sex abuse charges
Former CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden was arrested Friday on charges of sex abuse for allegedly forcibly touching a woman in his New York home last year.
Frieden reportedly turned himself into police on Friday and has been charged with one count each of forcible touching, sexual abuse and harassment connected to an incident that occurred in October 2017 at his home, according to a New York City police department spokeswoman.
Police said a 55-year-old woman filed a complaint in July and claimed Frieden had grabbed her buttocks without her consent. Frieden, 57, remained in custody as of early Friday afternoon, according to police.
Frieden was one of the longest-serving officials within the Obama administration, serving as Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director from 2009 until 2017. He is the second longest-serving director in the agency's history.
Well regarded as a leader in global public health, Frieden first came to national prominence during his time as New York City's health commissioner from 2002 to 2009, where under the direction of then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg, he led public health initiatives such as prohibiting smoking in public places and imposing higher taxes on cigarettes, which many say led the city's smoking rate to drop from 22% in 2002 to 14% by 2010, according to a 2011 New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene report.
Frieden's most remembered CDC work stemmed from leading the agency's response to 2014's Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa, which resulted in more than 28,000 cases and more than 11,000 deaths. Frieden also oversaw the agency's efforts to combat the Zika virus outbreak, the introduction of Middle East respiratory syndrome in the U.S., and the rising threat of antibiotic-resistant infections.
In an interview with Modern Healthcare in January 2017, Frieden said one of his biggest accomplishments was the agency's work toward preventing chronic diseases such as heart disease.
Frieden currently serves as president and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, a $225 million initiative aimed at reducing the effects of heart disease and stroke. The program is part of the global health organization Vital Strategies, which designs public health strategies for governments in low- and middle-income countries.
José Castro, president and CEO of Vital Strategies, said Frieden informed him of the accusations in April and the initiative conducted a thorough investigation to determine if there were any concerns of workplace harassment or inappropriate behavior. Ultimately, they found no evidence.
"I have known and worked closely with Dr. Frieden for nearly 30 years and have seen first-hand that he has the highest ethical standards both personally and professionally," Castro said in a statement. In all of my experiences with him, there have never been any concerns or reports of inappropriate conduct."
Send us a letter
Have an opinion about this story? Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor, and we may publish it in print.