The former director of the CenterS for Disease Control and Prevention was arrested in New York City and will be charged with sexual abuse, multiple outlets reported on Friday.
Dr. Thomas Frieden, who served as the head of the CDC between 2009 and 2017, is expected to be arraigned on charges forcible touching, sex abuse, and harassment. The charges stem from an October 2017 incident at his Brooklyn home, a representative of the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office told the Washington Post.
According to a New York Police Department spokesperson who also spoke with the Post, Frieden—who spent seven years as New York City Health Commissioner prior to his time with the CDC—turned himself in to authorities on Friday morning, and stands “accused of grabbing a woman’s buttocks.” The incident was reported to police this past July.
A representative for Frieden pushed back on—but did not deny—the allegations in a statement to CNN:
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.
Frieden currently serves as the CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, a health-focused initiative overseen by the global NGO Vital Strategies. In a statement to CNBC, Vital Strategies CEO Jose Castro explained that while Frieden had told him about the allegations of misconduct this past April, a review conducted by an “external expert” concluded that “there have been no incidents of workplace harassment” by Frieden within the organization itself.
“Vital Strategies greatly values the work Dr. Frieden does to advance public health and he has my full confidence,” Castro added.
As head of the CDC for nearly a decade, Frieden oversaw the response to a number of major health crises, including the Ebola outbreak that occurred in West Africa from 2014–2016 and the Zika virus outbreak of 2016.