What to Know
- The former head of the CDC has pleaded guilty to a disorderly conduct violation related to his 2018 arrest for alleged sexual misconduct
- Dr. Thomas Frieden was accused of grabbing the rear end of a woman he knew in his home in 2017
- The violation to which he pleaded guilty is not considered a crime. He did not admit guilt in the groping allegation
The former head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has pleaded guilty to a disorderly conduct violation related to his arrest last year for alleged sexual misconduct.
Dr. Thomas Frieden appeared Tuesday in Brooklyn Criminal Court. The former New York City health commissioner was arrested in August.
A woman he knew had accused Frieden of grabbing her buttocks on Oct. 20, 2017, in his Brooklyn home. Frieden said at the time that said the woman's allegation did "not reflect" who he is or his values.
The violation to which he pleaded guilty is not considered a crime. He did not admit guilt in the groping allegation. He pleaded not guilty to the charges of forcible touching, sex abuse and harassment last year.
Frieden's case will be sealed and dismissed in a year if he isn't arrested during that time.
He and attorney Laura Brevetti declined to comment.
Frieden was director of the CDC from 2009 to 2017. He currently leads a health initiative called Resolve to Save Lives, which is housed by nonprofit global health organization Vital Strategies.
The organization hired an investigator to interview workers there even though the woman was not an employee. The investigation found no inappropriate workplace behavior.
Frieden was a disease investigator at the Atlanta-based CDC, the nation's top public health agency, 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.
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 U.S. 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's administration picked Frieden to head the CDC. Frieden led U.S. public health efforts during a range of high-profile national and international health crises, including pandemic flu, Ebola and Zika.
Frieden was CDC director until January 2017, when he resigned as part of the turnover to President Donald Trump's administration.