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Pediatrician pleads guilt to sexual assaulting children

December 21, 2018

A 71-year-old Johnstown pediatrician pleaded guilty Thursday in Cambria County court to sexually abusing two family members who were minors at the time, according to the state attorney general’s office.

Johnnie Barto, who also practiced in Somerset County, admitted to assaulting 29 other children over many years.

The pediatrician was charged in July for the sexual abuse of 29 children, after having been previously charged in January, March and April for similar crimes against another patient and two family members.

Barto entered pleas to multiple counts of aggravated indecent assault, which are second-degree felonies, in addition to multiple counts of indecent assault and endangering the welfare of children, according to a media release by the Attorney General Josh Shapiro.

All 31 sexual assault incidents will be part of the judge’s consideration at the time of Barto’s sentencing, tentatively scheduled for the end of January, according to Shapiro.

Most of the alleged assaults were committed by Barto in the examination room at Laurel Pediatric Associates of Cambria County and at local hospitals. The alleged victims were between 2 weeks and 12 years old, according to court documents.

Barto has been incarcerated in the Cambria County Prison awaiting an outcome to his case in lieu of $1.5 million in bonds set when the charges came to light about a year ago.

The doctor’s medical license has been suspended. He must undergo a sexual offenders assessment prior to his sentencing.

“Dr. Johnnie Barto used his position of authority — as the pediatrician who families relied on — to feed his own sick desires and take advantage of parents and children seeking basic health care,” Shapiro said in a media release Thursday. “My office was able to bring him to justice because of the brave survivors who came forward and told their stories of abuse and assault, and I thank them for their courage. We will hold child sexual predators accountable for their crimes in Pennsylvania, whenever we find them — in a school, in a church, or in a family’s doctor’s office.”

A telephone call to Barto’s attorney, David Weaver of Johnstown, was not returned before deadline.

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