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Doctor heading to trial on child sexual assault charges

March 1, 2018 GMT

RICHLAND — A pediatrician with offices in Somerset and Cambria counties, accused of molesting a 12-year-old female patient on Dec. 21, will go to trial in Cambria County.

Dr. Johnnie “Jack” Barto, 70, Delta Drive, Richland Township, faces felony charges of indecent assault, corruption of minors and endangering welfare of children after the offenses were held-to-court Wednesday by District Judge Susan Gindlesperger of Richland Township in Cambria County.

Senior Deputy Attorney General Simquita Bridges and Defense attorney David Weaver of Johnstown spent nearly two hours examining and cross-examining two prosecution witnesses, a forensic psychologist and a Richland Township police detective, in the magisterial office.

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Nearly two dozen people filled the wooden benches in the courtroom in support of the longtime doctor.

During the hearing, the forensic psychologist testified that the girl told her during an interview at the Cambria County Child Advocacy Center on Dec. 28 that Barto had inappropriately touched her while she sat on his lap while he was trying to send a change her prescription on his computer.

The girl said Barto was having trouble sending a prescription so he stopped typing and then put his hand down her pants and rubbed her private area, according to the forensic psychologist.

During that interview the girl said when the alleged sexual assault occurred she did not know what to do; she did not know why he did it; but she knew it was wrong. Then Barto was able to send the prescription and he told her to get off his lap, according to the testimony.

The girl then told her mother after they left the office about the alleged sexual assault and that at least on three to five other medical visits, Barto had placed his elbow on her private parts while she was on the examination table, which she felt was “odd.”

On cross-examination, Weaver pointed out and the witnesses agree that the girl’s mother, another doctor and a younger brother sitting were about four feet away in the same examination room when the touching was alleged to have occurred.

Barto has two offices with Laurel Pediatric Associates in Cambria County and one in Somerset Borough in the Wheeler Family Medical Center along East Church Street. His biography and photo was taken down from the group’s website.

Initially, Barto was charged with third-degree felony and misdemeanor counts of indecent assault of a person less than 13 years old, two counts of corruption of minors and two counts of endangering the welfare of children.

He is free on bond with a condition that he have no unsupervised contact with children.