Court documents obtained by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution show the husband of a top CDC official, indicted earlier this month on charges of molesting a 6-year-old, was cleared of similar allegations in 2008.
That previous accusation of child abuse coincided with a divorce suit brought by Thomas J. Westerman’s first wife, court records show. Attorneys for Westerman and his current spouse, Kimberly Quinlan Lindsey, a deputy director for the CDC’s laboratory office program, suggest lingering acrimony from that case led to the current charges.
“There is a long and complicated history between all the parties involved,” said Bob Rubin, co-counsel for Lindsey. “There’s far more to this case than what has been laid out in the indictment.”
It took DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James 15 months to indict Westerman and Lindsey, who were arrested in October 2011. They’re expected to be formally arraigned within the next two weeks.
A spokesman for James declined comment on the previous unsubstantiated abuse allegations.
“His life has been turned upside down because of this,” said Reid Thompson, Westerman’s attorney. His client, who “strongly denies these claims,” lost his job as a resource management specialist with the CDC and finding work has been impossible with the molestation accusation hanging over his head, Thompson said. The 2008 accusation was investigated by Cobb County police who, according to court documents, “found no evidence to substantiate the allegations.” The child was then evaluated by a court-appointed doctor who reported no signs of abuse.
Lindsey and Westerman were not romantically involved at the time. They married after their 2011 arrest, Rubin said. DeKalb County police learned of the accusations against the couple in August 2011 from a pediatrician. The doctor had been told, by the boy’s grandmother, about the alleged abuse which, according to the indictment, took place in January and August of that year.
Lindsey, 45, is accused of engaging in sexual activity with the boy in the presence of Westerman, 43. Westerman allegedly instructed the child to touch Lindsey while she was partially undressed.
“These charges are totally out of character with who we know Dr. Lindsey to be,” said Rubin, adding his client “vociferously” denies the allegations. The case has attracted national attention due largely to Lindsey’s position within the CDC. The Emory University graduate was previously responsible for overseeing a $1.5 billion fiscal allocation process for terrorism preparedness.