Dr. Johnnie Barto (Todd Berkey / The Tribune-Democrat via AP)
On Monday, Dr. Johnnie “Jack” Barto, 71, was sentenced to between 79 and 158 years in prison for sexually abusing 31 children over his career. He will most assuredly die in prison.
The Pennsylvania pediatrician “pleaded guilty to assaulting two family members and no contest to assaulting more then two dozen patients, one as young as two weeks old.”1 This sentence comes almost 20 years after he was cleared of allegations by the state board of medicine because the allegations were “incongruous to his reputation.”1
Attorney General Josh Shapiro called the disgraced doctor a “serial predator,” saying in part,
“He held himself out as a pillar in his community — a family pediatrician, an elected member of the school board, a regular attendee at church. My office unraveled Barto’s web of lies, deceit and assault of children, and today he’s been held accountable for his crimes.”1
Nineteen people (including Barto’s wife, Linda) gave impact statements before his sentencing. Shapiro read one of those statements,
“By luck of the draw of physicians in his office, I was a patient of the defendant one time when I was 5 years old. One time too many. During my visit, he violated me not once, but twice, while other unsuspecting individuals were in the room. While his actions were brief, they were damaging. They impacted my life in how I view myself, including my self-worth and self-esteem.
To the defendant: You don’t know anything about me. To you, I am a number in your list of abused children. But I remember you. I remember your white-collared, long-sleeve shirt with light purple vertical stripes. I remember the way I laid and sat when you became a monster.”2
Prosecutors say Barto abused male and female patients, most between the ages of 8 and 12 (although the youngest victims were a toddler and a 2-week-old2) in his exam room at Laurel Pediatric Associates in Cambria County and at local hospitals. For decades.
Erika Brosig was 12 when Barto molested her in 1994. She believes that Barto had enablers who should also be held responsible to some degree,
“Parents were making complaints frequently about Dr. Barto. We want to find out who did know and what was the level of their responsibility.”2
Barto admitted to sexually assaulting dozens more children during the four decades he practiced and at least a half-dozen other cases could not be charged because of the criminal statute of limitations laws in Pennsylvania.
According to his lawyer, Barto does not plan to appeal his sentence.