The executive, who served as head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) under president Barack Obama from 2009 to 2017, appeared before a Brooklyn criminal court and was released without bail, prosecutors said.
As CDC commissioner, he spearheaded efforts to curb the obesity and flu epidemics in the USA and oversaw the country's emergency response to the Ebola crisis.
Frieden is accused of forcibly grabbing the buttocks of a 55-year-old woman in October at his home in Brooklyn. Though they knew each other, they were not believed to have an intimate relationship. The woman reported the incident in July, police said. He has been charged with "forcible touching, sex abuse and harassment", according to the AP.
Frieden remained in custody on Friday, Muniz said.
He is now president and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, a $225 million initiative at global health non-profit Vital Strategies, which is funded in part by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Donald Trump says knew ‘later on’ about hush-money payments
Cohen said he had paid the money "at the direction" of Mr Trump, "for the principal objective of influencing the election". US President Donald Trump has warned that any attempt to impeach him would result in the crash of the American economy.
Frieden's next court date was scheduled for October 11.
"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.
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. 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 president of Vital Strategies, Jose L. Castro, came out in support of Frieden.