Crime

Johnstown pediatrician faces dozens of new charges

In this Feb. 28, 2018 photo, Johnnie Barto arrives for a hearing in the Belmont section of Stonycreek Township, Pa. Authorities in Pennsylvania are set to announce new charges Monday, July 30, against Barto, a pediatrician who is already charged with inappropriately touching a 12-year-old patient. (Todd Berkey/The Tribune-Democrat via AP)
In this Feb. 28, 2018 photo, Johnnie Barto arrives for a hearing in the Belmont section of Stonycreek Township, Pa. Authorities in Pennsylvania are set to announce new charges Monday, July 30, against Barto, a pediatrician who is already charged with inappropriately touching a 12-year-old patient. (Todd Berkey/The Tribune-Democrat via AP) AP

Almost 70 new charges were filed Monday against a Johnstown pediatrician already facing indecent assault charges from January.

Johnnie Barto, 70, was a Johnstown pediatrician when charges were filed against him by the state Attorney General’s Office alleging that he had made “inappropriate physical contact with a 12-year-old patient during an appointment in his office.” Additional charges followed in March and April.

Sixty-nine new charges were filed Monday, according to court records, with incidents dating from 1990 through 2012. Charges include multiple felony counts of aggravated indecent assault of minors, endangering the welfare of children and one felony count of aggravated indecent assault of a person with a mental defect.

Court records also show numerous misdemeanor charges as well, including indecent assault of minors and endangering the welfare of children.

The OAG established a special hotline for the Barto case in January.

The new charges were filed with Cambria County District Judge Susan Gindlesperger, court documents said. A preliminary hearing is set for Aug. 10.

State Attorney General Josh Shapiro called the investigation a “horrible case” during a Monday news conference. The new charges, Shapiro said, relate to 29 alleged victims with assaults dating from “the late 1980s until January this year.” Many of the reported assaults included both boys and girls aged 8 to 12.

Shapiro said many of the alleged assaults occurred in local exam rooms and hospitals within Cambria County and said the investigation is ongoing. One of the alleged victims was two weeks old when assaulted, an OAG news release said, while another was 21 months old when assaulted over seven separate office visits.

“Instead of caring for his patients,” he said, “Barto used his power of authority as a pediatrician to abuse them.”

Shapiro thanked those who came forward to bring the information about Barto to light, saying he would remain in prison for the rest of his life for his crimes.

Barto’s medical license was suspended when he was arrested in January on charges including indecent assault, the Associated Press reported. At the time, police said they’d received more than 30 phone calls with information regarding allegations of past abuse by Barto.

Barto has offices in Cambria and Somerset counties and provided services through Laurel Pediatrics. A letter addressed to “parents, guardians and friends” through Laurel Pediatrics stated that it always strives “to look at issues from a child’s point of view and inspire parents to look at the world as their children see it.”

“Please know that, while this is a very difficult time for all of us, our first priority remains ensuring that your family continues to receive the very best care,” Laurel Pediatrics said regarding Barto. “We ask that you continue to reassure your children that our doctors and staff are here to take care of them whenever they need us.”

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro talks about the 69 new charges filed against Johnstown pediatrician Johnnie Barto. Barto is accused of sexually assaulting more than 30 children between the late 1980s and January 2018.

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