September 22, 2018

Former head of CDC arrested on charges of groping woman

25 August 2018, 05:40 | Rodolfo Wallace

Former CDC director Thomas Frieden center leaves Brooklyn federal court Friday in New York. Associated Press Mary Altaffer

Former CDC director Thomas Frieden center leaves Brooklyn federal court Friday in New York

Frieden, who also once served as New York City's health commissioner, turned himself in to a Brooklyn police station on Friday morning, police spokesperson Arlene Muniz said. In that job, he fought against trans-fats in NYC restaurants and instituted other policies that drew ire from civil libertarians such as scrapping written consent for HIV testing and establishing an involuntary diabetes database.

Frieden was the CDC director from 2009 to 2017, leading the agency during the Ebola epidemic.

Tom Frieden was charged with misdemeanor counts of third-degree sexual abuse and forcible touching, as well as harassment, a violation, for allegedly touching the 55-year-old victim in October of last year. The incident, which was reported to authorities in July, took place in a residential part of Brooklyn, they said.

"This allegation does not reflect Dr. Frieden's public or private behavior or his values over a lifetime of service to improve health around the world", says a spokeswoman for Frieden.

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There was no information on an attorney who could comment on Frieden's behalf.

The former CDC head now works at Vital Strategies, a nonprofit global health organization. Frieden surrendered his passport and is next due in court on October 11, prosecutors said. "In all of my experiences with him, there have never been any concerns or reports of inappropriate conduct".

"Vital Strategies greatly values the work Dr. Frieden does to advance public health and he has my full confidence". That led to work with the World Health Organization's TB program in India. In 2006, it became the first USA city to ban restaurants from using artificial trans fats and required hundreds of eateries to post calorie counts on their menus. In 2009, President Barack Obama named him to lead the CDC.

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