Pediatrician Charged With Sexual Abuse Of 31 Kids Was Caught In 2000 & Let Go

The former doctor abused many of his victims in the exam room at his office in western Pennsylvania.

March 18, 2019

Photo by: Dr. Johnnie Barto [Cambria County Prison]

Dr. Johnnie Barto [Cambria County Prison]

By: Catherine Townsend

EBENSBURG, PA — A former pediatrician in Pennsylvania who prosecutors say spent decades abusing girls and boys in his care was sentenced to 79 years in prison for the sexual assault of 31 children.

Prosecutors say that Dr. Johnnie Barto, 71, molested victims who ranged in age from approximately 8 to 12 years old, although one victim was an infant. The former doctor abused many of his victims in the exam room at his office in western Pennsylvania.

Barto pleaded guilty in December to some counts and no contest to others. His lawyer stated that Barto opted to enter pleas so "the healing could begin for his family, his victims, and for himself."

Authorities in Pennsylvania have faced widespread criticism for their failure to stop Barto. In 2000, the disgraced physician appeared before the Pennsylvania Board of Medicine on administrative charges that he molested two young girls in the 1990s. But the medical board voted to allow Barto to keep practicing medicine, and — in discussing their decision to throw out the case — regulators stated that the accusations could be damaging to the popular doctor's reputation. After avoiding any repercussions, Barto continued to molest patients in his care.

He was arrested in January 2018, according to the state attorney general's office.
The Pennsylvania Department of State said last year that "the Board of Medicine takes allegations of sexual misconduct by professional licensees very seriously."

Barto's wife, Linda, said at the sentencing, “He has been lying to me about everything for all of the 52 years I have known him. He spent his whole sinister life lying and sneaking around, so he could carry on his abuse uninterrupted."

Read more: MSN, The Morning Call

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