• CDC executive acquitted in child molestation case

    By: Raisa Habersham | The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

    Updated:
    DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - Five years after police say Kimberly Quinlan Lindsey and her ex-husband, Thomas Joseph Westerman, sexually abused Westerman’s then 6-year-old son, the pair has been acquitted.
     
    The executive and her ex are now trying to put their lives back together.
     
    The former couple were acquitted of child molestation charges Tuesday in a case that dates back to 2011, DeKalb District Attorney Office spokesman Marcus Garner said. The acquittal comes a week after attorneys filed for a mistrial moments after the alleged victim testified.
     
    DeKalb police were initially notified of the alleged abuse in August 2011 by a pediatrician.
     
    The couple, who married after their arrests, were indicted in 2013. They have since divorced.
     
    The case garnered national attention after Lindsey was allowed to return to work at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention following her arrest.
     
    During the trial, the CDC placed Lindsey on leave. Rubin, her attorney, said she is scheduled to return to work within the next two weeks.
     
    Rubin said he doesn’t know if Lindsey will return to her original position or will be reimbursed for the five years she was on leave. At the time of the incident, Lindsey served as deputy director of Laboratory Science Policy and Practice Program Office at the CDC.
     
    “She really lost everything waiting for trial,” Rubin said.
     
    Rubin said Lindsey worked various jobs and borrowed money to make ends meet while she was out of work.
     
    Lindsey, an Emory University graduate, has been with the CDC since 1999 and at one point was responsible for overseeing a $1.5 billion fiscal allocation process for terrorism preparedness.
     
    Westerman lost his job following the accusations.
     
    The case may have been the result of an ongoing feud between Westerman and his first wife, Westerman’s attorney Reid Thompson said.
     
    Westerman was arrested on separate child abuse accusations in 2008, but was cleared of any wrongdoing.
     
    Those allegations coincided with a divorce suit in Cobb County brought by his first wife. Attorneys for the couple have suggested that lingering acrimony from that case led to the current charges.
     
    “Oftentimes, children are used as weapons during divorce proceedings,” Thompson said.
     
    Thompson said his next steps were making sure Westerman’s visitation with his now 11-year-old son are restored. Cobb County Superior Court suspended visitation with his son during the trial.
     
    “The last five years have been difficult financially,” Thompson said, “But of course the most important thing is his relationship with his son.”

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