Thomas Frieden, Former CDC Chief, Arrested on Sexual Abuse Charges

A woman told police in July that Frieden groped her in his Brooklyn apartment in October 2017.

Aug 24, 2018
Sukanya Charuchandra
Thomas Frieden
WIKIMEDIA COMMONS, Centers for Disease Control

Thomas Frieden, previously the New York City Health Commissioner and director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, surrendered to the New York Police Department’s Special Victims Unit this morning (August 24) on charges of sexual harassment. 

According to The Washington Post, a New York police spokeswoman says, “He was arrested for forcible touching, for sexual abuse and harassment, for touching her buttocks without permission.” Frieden will likely face a second-degree charge of harassment, third-degree count of sex abuse, and one count of forcible touching in the Brooklyn Criminal Court, reports CNN.

The woman in question was known to Frieden and the incident happened in his Brooklyn Heights apartment on October 20, 2017. She filed a report in July. 

Former President Barack Obama appointed Frieden as head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2009. He led the organization for eight years until January 2017 when President Donald Trump’s administration took charge. At the CDC, Frieden shaped strategies to address several high-profile health emergencies, including the 2009 H1N1 pandemic and the 2014 Ebola outbreak. 

During his tenure from 2002 to 2009 at New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene under then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Frieden banned smoking in workplaces and the use of artificial trans fats in restaurant food. 

According to STAT News, Frieden founded the global health organization Resolve to Save Lives with the help of a $225-million donation from Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.