Former CDC director Tom Frieden accused of groping woman in New York, officials say

Tom Frieden turned himself in to authorities Friday morning, police said.

August 24, 2018, 3:40 PM

Former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Tom Frieden turned himself in to authorities in New York City on Friday to face charges that he groped a woman he knew last year, according to law enforcement officials.

Frieden, who was also the New York City Health Commissioner, allegedly grabbed the woman's butt during a gathering at his Brooklyn apartment last October.

The unidentified 55-year-old woman reported the incident in early July, and Frieden surrendered to authorities at the New York Police Department Friday morning, law enforcement officials told ABC News.

Frieden, who was charged with forcible touching, sex abuse and harassment, was scheduled to appear in court in Brooklyn for his arraignment Friday afternoon.

"This allegation does not reflect Dr. Frieden’s public or private behavior, or his values over a lifetime of service to improve the health around the world," a spokesperson for Frieden told ABC News on Friday.

Frieden is currently the president and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, a $225 million global health initiative that aims to prevent 100 million deaths from cardiovascular disease and to prevent epidemics.

Jose Castro, the president and CEO of Vital Strategies, the New York-based nonprofit that houses the Resolve to Save Lives initiative, released a statement in support of Frieden, saying he has the "highest ethical standards personally and professionally" and there have been "no incidents of workplace harassment."

Castro said Frieden told him in April about the accusation made by a "non-work-related friend of his and his family of more than 30 years." Although the accuser is not an employee, Castro said, this prompted Vital Strategies to bring in an "external expert" to investigate whether Frieden had acted inappropriately in the workplace.

"In April of this year, Dr. Tom Frieden, who heads our Resolve to Save Lives Initiative, informed me that a non-work-related friend of his and his family of more than 30 years accused him of inappropriate physical contact," Castro said in his statement Friday.

"I have known and worked closely with Dr. Frieden for nearly 30 years and have seen first-hand that he has the highest ethical standards both personally and professionally. In all of my experiences with him, there have never been any concerns or reports of inappropriate conduct.

"Vital Strategies is committed to a workplace that is free of sexual harassment. 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. This assessment determined there have been no incidents of workplace harassment," Castro continued.

"Vital Strategies greatly values the work Dr. Frieden does to advance public health and he has my full confidence."

ABC News' Morgan Winsor contributed to this report.