Former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Tom Frieden charged with sexual abuse 

Legal and regulatory issues
Tom Frieden, the former CDC director, was charged Friday with sex abuse, police said. (iStock/BCFC)

The former head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was charged Friday with sexual abuse, police said. 

The New York Police Department confirmed to FierceHealthcare that Tom Frieden, M.D., turned himself into the police in Brooklyn Friday morning and was charged with sexual abuse, forceful touching and harassment of a 55-year-old woman. 

CNN reported that the woman and Frieden have known each other for several years, and that incident occurred at an October dinner party at his home. As the meal was ending, Frieden groped her without her consent, a law enforcement official told the outlet. 

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Tom Frieden
Tom Frieden (CDC)

The woman filed a complaint against Frieden in July, according to CNN. A spokesperson for Frieden told CNN that the allegation “does not reflect [his] private behavior or values.”  

Frieden stepped down from the CDC in January 2017 after heading the agency during the Obama administration. But he has continued to sound off on matters related to the CDC since his tenure ended.  

RELATED: Longtime AIDS researcher Robert R. Redfield, M.D., to lead Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 

Under his tenure at the CDC, the agency navigated the 2014 Ebola outbreak and kickstarted a response to the opioid crisis.  

Frieden currently serves as CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, a $225 million, five-year project aimed at improving cardiovascular health and preventing epidemics. The project is housed under Vital Strategies, a nonprofit that supports a number of global health programs. 

RELATED: CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald resigned due to ‘complex financial interests’ over tobacco stock purchase 

Jose Castro, Vital Strategies CEO, told CNN that the group was informed about the allegations in April and conducted an internal investigation at Resolve to Save Lives. They found no case of workplace harassment and said the woman involved in the case is not a Resolve employee. 

"Vital Strategies greatly values the work Dr. Frieden does to advance public health and he has my full confidence,” Castro said. 

Before taking over at the CDC, Frieden was New York City Health Commissioner, where he headed antismoking initiatives and worked to ban trans fats from the city’s restaurants. 

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