ibusinesslines.com September 19, 2018

Former city health commisser denies groping allegation

25 August 2018, 05:41 | Melissa Porter

Modal Trigger Thomas Frieden Getty Images

Tom Frieden

Tom Frieden, a leading public health expert instrumental in the USA response to the Ebola crisis and to legislating against smoking, was arrested and charged with sexual harassment on Friday.

Frieden was CDC director from 2009 to 2017, overseeing the agency's Ebola response.

Dr. Thomas Frieden, who for years informed the public about dangers to their health, sat stone-faced as a judge warned him not to approach the woman, who accused him of groping her on October 20, 2017, in his Brooklyn home. Though they knew each other, they were not believed to have an intimate relationship. It says she reported it in July.

He served as NY city health commissioner from 2002-2009 under billionaire mayor Michael Bloomberg, leading efforts to legislate against smoking.

He appeared in front of Judge Michael Yavinsky in New York City Criminal Court in Brooklyn on Friday afternoon and pleaded not guilty to the charges, his lawyer Laura Brevetti said.

Frieden remained in custody on Friday, Muniz said.

Frieden leads a health initiative called Resolve to Save Lives, which is housed by nonprofit global health organization Vital Strategies.

Frieden is next due in court on October 11, according to court staff. Brevetti, reached by telephone, declined further comment.

In the '90s, he led a program to control tuberculosis in a NY, lowering incidences whereby people were resistant to multiple drugs. As such, even though she is not an employee, earlier this month we conducted a thorough investigation by an external expert, which included an in-depth interview with every staff member on the Resolve to Save Lives team to determine whether there are any concerns about inappropriate behavior.

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the charity run by Facebook (FB.O) co-founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, said in a statement that the organization was "disturbed and saddened" by the charges.

"Vital Strategies greatly values the work Dr. Frieden does to advance public health and he has my full confidence", Castro said. In 2006, it became the first USA city to ban restaurants from using artificial trans fats and required hundreds of eateries to post calorie counts on their menus.

Dr. Thomas "Tom" Frieden, former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in a 2016 photo.

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