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Former CDC director arrested on sex abuse charge

A former director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was arrested in New York on a misdemeanor sex abuse charge.

Dr Thomas R Frieden turned himself in Friday morning in Brooklyn, the NYPD told the Guardian, and was awaiting a court appearance.

An alleged victim said Frieden grabbed her buttocks against her will. WABC said the woman reported the incident, which she says happened last October, in July.

Frieden, who is also a former New York City health commissioner, is also charged with forcible touching and harassment, a misdemeanor and a violation.

There was no information on an attorney who could comment on Frieden’s behalf. An email seeking comment did not immediately receive a reply.

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Frieden now leads a global health initiative called Resolve to Save Lives. He was a CDC disease investigator in 1990 when he was assigned to New York City and worked on a large outbreak of drug-resistant tuberculosis. He stayed, taking a job heading the city’s tuberculosis control. In 1996, he began working in India with the World Health Organization on tuberculosis control.

Frieden became New York City’s health commissioner in 2002 and was known for his aggressive measures to attack chronic diseases. In 2003, New York banned smoking in almost all workplaces, a precedent-setting move that inspired other cities to do the same. In 2006, it became the first US city to ban restaurants from using artificial trans fats and required hundreds of eateries to post calorie counts on their menus.

In 2009, Barack Obama’s administration picked Frieden to head the CDC. Frieden led US public health efforts during a range of high-profile national and international health crises, including pandemic flu, Ebola and Zika.

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He was CDC director until January 2017, when he resigned as part of the turnover to Donald Trump’s administration.

In September 2017, Frieden announced he had moved back to New York City to head the $225m Resolve to Save Lives initiative, housed at a non-profit global health organization called Vital Strategies.


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