Additional charges filed against pediatrician accused of assaulting patients

HARRISBURG — A Johnstown pediatrician — with offices in Cambria and Somerset Counties — already accused of assaulting a patient and two relatives now faces charges for the sexual abuse of 29 more children, Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced Monday.

Additional charges against Dr. Johnnie Barto, 70, include involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and multiple counts of aggravated indecent assault, indecent assault, and endangering the welfare of children. He is currently in prison on charges relating to the other alleged assaults.

“Barto used his position of authority as a pediatrician — the family doctor everyone relied on to treat and heal their children — and abused it to feed his own, sick sexual desires,” Shapiro said. “Our agents and Richland (Township) Police continued interviewing young victims — some assaulted by Barto as recently as January — and older victims as well, who came forward and told of being assaulted by Barto years ago in his office, when they came as young children, seeking his care.”

The latest charges stem from incidents dating back to the 1980s, including the alleged sexual assault of a two-week-old girl.

Barto is accused of touching victims’ genitals “in a manner and practice that was unarguably inconsistent with any standard of medical protocol.”

Investigators found that Barto would allegedly wait for the parents of his victims to leave the exam room or use his body as a shield to block parents from seeing the alleged assaults.

“I want to thank the brave survivors who have come forward and shared with our investigators their traumatizing experiences at the hands of Dr. Barto,” Shapiro added. “I have a message for these courageous individuals, and for any person or institution that believes they can get away with sexually abusing children and covering it up. We will pursue every allegation of child sexual abuse wherever we find it – in a doctor’s office, in a school or church – and we will hold child sexual predators accountable for their crimes under Pennsylvania law.”

The Office of Attorney’s special hotline for the Barto case is 412-565-7680. Victims or families can also call Richland Township Police at 814-266-8333. The case is being prosecuted by Senior Deputy Attorney General Simquita Bridges.