Ex-CDC head appears in Brooklyn court after groping accusation

Posted: Updated:

Dr. Thomas Frieden, former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, appeared in court Friday on charges alleging that he groped a woman he knew for decades.

Frieden was in Downtown Brooklyn court just after 4 p.m. Friday, wearing handcuffs. The 57-year-old is accused of grabbing a 55-year-old woman's butt at his Montague Street home in last October. The woman did not report the incident until this past July.

Frieden is charged with forcible touching, sex abuse and harassment.

"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," a spokesman for Frieden said in a statement.

Frieden was previously the head of the CDC under former President Barack Obama. He’s also served as the New York City health commissioner.

Frieden currently works at Vital Strategies, which claims Frieden acknowledged the groping claim and says the alleged victim has been a family friend of Frieden’s for over 30 years. The woman does not work for Vital Strategies but the company says it takes sexual harassment seriously and did its own internal investigation. It says it found no complaints of workplace harassment.

"I have known and worked closely with Dr. Frieden for nearly 30 years and have seen firsthand that he has the highest ethical standards both personally and professionally," company President and CEO Jose Castro said in a statement. "In all of my experiences with him, there have never been any concerns or reports of inappropriate conduct."

Frieden is not allowed to have contact with the alleged victim and must surrender his passport once attorneys for both sides work out the details. His next court date is Oct. 11.

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