Dr. Johnnie Wilson “Jack” Barto, a 70-year old Pennsylvania pediatrician, faces dozens of child molestation charges after police say twenty-nine victims have come forward to allege he sexually abused them, in some cases as their unaware parents were in the same room. The accusations go as far back as 1990, and as recent as early 2018. Dr. Barto is accused of using his pediatric practice “to feed his own sexual desires.” The majority of the incidents identified in the criminal complaint took place at Barto’s Richland Township office at Laurel Pediatrics, while others allegedly took place at Conemaugh Hospital or the Laurel Pediatrics Office in Somerset County.
The attorney general said Dr. Barto “violated every tenet of his oath as a doctor and as a decent human being — violating the trust of his victims, their parents and of the entire community.” At this time no civil lawsuit are pending against Dr. Barto or his medical practice.
Dr. Barto was first arrested in January after allegedly fondling the genitals of children as young as two weeks old when they came in for ear infections and sore throats. Victims told prosecutors that Dr. Barto would either use his body to shield the genital exams from parents in the room, ask parents to leave the exam room, or tell parents that the genital “examinations” with ungloved hands were routine.
The abuse occurred during routine wellness checks, physicals and for visits related to conditions such as influenza symptoms, seizures, kidney stones, ear infections and sore throats. Police said he molested both girls and boys, though most of the alleged victims were girls. The charging documents said Barto used his bare fingers to digitally penetrate girls and fondle the genitals of boys. Dr. Barto was accused in 1998 of sexually molesting two girls during office visits. He was never charged criminally and denied the allegations. Two years later the Board of Medicine determined he could keep his license, ruling the allegations lacked evidence.
The mother of two other alleged victims, a 10-year-old girl and her 11-year-old brother, complained to the family’s regular pediatrician after Barto reached inside both children’s underwear “and began feeling around each of their genitals,” police wrote. The family’s primary pediatrician, who worked in the same medical practice as Barto, told the mother that Barto “has an ‘odd bedside manner’and she believed he possibly suffers from Asperger’s disease,” police said in the arrest affidavit.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted by a physician or at a doctor’s office or hospital, it is important to have an experienced lawyer acting on the victim’s behalf. We are experienced in handling cases involving sexual assault by doctors and other medical personnel. If you have a been a victim of sexual assault by a doctor in a hospital or medical office, or if you know someone who has, please contact our law firm at (954) 641-2100 or send an email to sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz at adam@adamhorowitzl