AP NEWS

Pediatrician faces more sex charges

March 23, 2018 GMT

A suspended Johnstown pediatrician has been charged with molesting a second girl.

Dr. Johnnie “Jack” Barto, 70, of Delta Drive, was arraigned Thursday on two counts of indecent assault and single counts of endangering the welfare of children and corruption of minors. He is free on 10 percent of a $100,000 bond set by Johnstown District Judge Susan Gindlesperger.

Barto is accused of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl at a family gathering at his home along Delta Drive in October 2002. The alleged victim told agents with the Pennsylvania attorney general’s office that she was tired from a school dance the night before and took a nap on Barto’s couch. She said she woke to find Barto rubbing her private parts over her pants.

“Fearing what to do next, (she) closed her eyes again and remained laying there scared to move,” Special Agents Gregory Matthews and Kelly Roberts wrote in a probable-cause affidavit.

Authorities said she remained on the couch in fear for several more moments before opening her eyes. Barto, she said, stopped touching her and immediately walked away.

She “believes that the defendant had only stopped because he became aware of her waking up,” the affidavit states.

The girl, now a woman, reported the incident to the Richland Township Police Department. The department contacted the attorney general’s office following Barto’s preliminary hearing Feb. 28 on similar charges involving a 12-year-old girl. Agents interviewed the woman on Monday.

Following the preliminary hearing, Barto was ordered to stand trial on charges of indecent assault, corruption of minors and endangering the welfare of children. The 12-year-old girl told police that Barto touched her inappropriately during a scheduled visit to his office at Laurel Pediatric Associates in Richland Township on Dec. 21.

Laurel Pediatric Associates also has an office in Somerset. After the initial charges were filed, Barto’s biography was removed from the practice’s website and the State Board of Medicine temporarily suspended his medical license.

Barto is represented by attorney David Weaver of Johnstown.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro called the latest charges “deeply disturbing.”

“First we charged this defendant with abusing a 12-year-old patient in his office. Today we’re charging him with assaulting a 14-year-old. . . . We believe there are more victims out there in the Johnstown and Altoona area. Please come forward. We will protect you, and we will hold this predator accountable for his crimes,” Shapiro said in a press release.

Shapiro asked anyone with information related to the Barto investigation to call his office at 412-565-7680 or Richland Township police at 814-266-8333.