Doctor is Charged with Repeatedly Abusing Seven-Year-Old Family Member
HARRISBURG — Following the January arrest of a Johnstown pediatrician for indecent assault of a patient and additional charges in March for the indecent assault of a 14-year-old family relative, Attorney General Josh Shapiro today announced new charges against the doctor for repeatedly sexually abusing another family relative – a 7-year-old girl.
Dr. Johnnie Barto, 70, of Delta Drive, Johnstown, was charged with indecent assault, corruption of minors, unlawful contact with a minor and endangering the welfare of children after another young relative of Barto came forward to investigators and detailed her repeated assault by him over several years. The assaults in the latest case began when the victim was three years old.
“There are few people whom parents trust more with their own children than their pediatrician and their own family – Barto took advantage of that and betrayed their trust,” Attorney General Josh Shapiro said. “He preyed on young children for his own sexual gratification, and these serious charges reflect the horrendous nature of his crimes.”
The victim in the latest case told investigators the most recent assault occurred while she was at a Christmas gathering with family members in 2017. As she was seated on Barto’s lap watching television, he began touching her inappropriately. Family was nearby, but Barto turned his chair away from the others in order to conceal his actions. The victim estimates the assaults on her began as young as three years old, and almost always occurred in the same chair while watching television.
Attorney General Shapiro said his investigators, working with local police in Richland Township, believe there are more victims of Barto. He urged them to come forward.
“Our investigators have heard from other victims, and our investigation is active and ongoing,” Attorney General Shapiro said. “I thank those who have already come forward, and I believe them. I want any victims and parents to hear this from me: Please come forward and share any information you have.”
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.
# # #