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DR. Johnnie Barto Accused of Sexually Abusing Child Patients

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Johnstown pediatrician Dr. Johnnie Barto sexually abused child patients for decades.

Dr. Johnnie Barto practiced in the Johnstown area for decades. During that time, he abused scores of young children under the guise of practicing medicine.

Barton was arrested in 2018 and charged with a multitude of crimes involving child sexual abuse. He admitted in open court to abusing at least 31 children.

Barto was sentenced to 79 years behind bars, which means he will almost certainly die behind bars.

His victims—at least those known about—were most often children ages 8-12 although his youngest victim was just an infant.

The Pennsylvania Board of Medicine had a chance to stop Barto in the early 2000’s, but failed to do so. At the time, Barto was accused of molesting two young female children. One a four-year-old girl, the other a three year old girl.

However, the Board stated that the allegations were “incongruous to his reputation” and they declined to take punitive action against the doctor—allowing him to continue his practice of medicine and his abuse of young children. The exoneration allowed him “to feel invincible” and as though he was free to continue his abuse.

Multiple parents reported confronting not only Barto, but staff at the locations where he worked. They lodged formal complaints but were either ignored or assured by Barto that his actions served legitimate medical purposes.

Barto practiced at Laurel Pediatrics Associated beginning in 2000 as well as Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center. However, Barto practiced in and around the Johnstown area at various locations for approximately four decades and had access to thousands of children.

Attorney Benjamin Andreozzi—who represents victims of sexual assault—has noted that institutions like Laurel Pediatric Associates or even hospitals like those Barto practiced at can be held accountable in circumstances where sexual abuse was preventable.

Andreozzi believes the facilities that Barto practiced at could be facing significant liability for failing to properly supervise or screen staff members as well as failing to report and prevent the sexual abuse of the patients in their care.

Andreozzi believes that it is important for victims to come forward because there is often a limited time period for them to seek justice.

Additionally, exposing the truth often forces organizations to change their policies, thereby protecting any future individuals in their care from similar abuse.

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