As head of the country's main public health agency, Frieden played a prominent role in helping respond to the outbreaks of Ebola in West Africa in 2014 and Zika fever that began in Brazil in 2015.
Tom Frieden was charged with misdemeanor counts of third-degree sexual abuse and forcible touching, as well as harassment, a violation, for allegedly touching the 55-year-old victim in October of last year. It says she reported it in July.
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.
After he left the CDC, Frieden launched a $225 initiative called Resolve to Save Lives, part of a nonprofit global health organization called Vital Strategies.
There was no information on an attorney who could comment on Frieden's behalf.
Its president and CEO, Jose Castro, told CNN that the groping accusation came from a friend who knew him and his family for more than 30 years.
In the 1990s, he led a tuberculosis control program in NY that lowered the incidence of cases that were resident to multiple drug treatments.
In 1996, he began working in India with the World Health Organization on tuberculosis control. 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. Frieden surrendered his passport and is next due in court on October 11, prosecutors said.
"I have known and worked closely with Dr. Frieden for almost 30 years and have seen first-hand that he has the highest ethical standards both personally and professionally", Castro said. "Vital Strategies greatly values the work Dr. Frieden does to advance public health and he has my full confidence".
He was behind some of the biggest public health initiatives in city history, including prohibiting smoking in bars and outlawing trans fats in restaurants. President Obama appointed him director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2009, and he served in that role until the end of Obama's tenure.