After almost 45 years as a pediatrician, Johnnie Barto, now 71 years old, will spend the remainder of his life in prison, serving 79 to 158 years for his crimes against children in Cambria County.
“This wasn’t any standard medical treatment, and he was sexually abusing children at a doctor’s office. That’s what this was, and today’s sentence leaves no doubt,” Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said.
19 impact statements were shared in court by Johnnie Barto’s victims and their family members. Barto’s niece called her uncle a “pedophile, predator, and a coward.”
Another victim addressed Barto, saying, “My first memory of you is when you molested me. You destroyed my trust in humanity. Not a day goes by without thinking of it.”
“Because of them, because of all of you, we are here today, and we have held this serial, sexual predator accountable for the terrible crimes you all have survived,” Shapiro said.
A statement was also made by Linda Barto, Johnnie’s wife, who said she’s praying for her husband’s victims and wanted to see him punished to the full extent of the law.
“Wherever we find child predators, or any person or institution covering up child abuse, my office will pursue the case, no matter how long it takes or how long it takes,” Shapiro said.
Now, victims are calling those who worked for Barto in his clinic, and members of the Pennsylvania Medical Board, to accept responsibility for not reporting the abuse.
“Johnnie Barto failed me. His nurses failed me. The office manager failed me. And the state medical board failed me,” Amanda Dorich, one of Barto’s victims, said.
One of the victims, who now works with other survivors of sexual abuse, said her experience with Barto created a bond between her and his other victims. She said, together, they’ll fight to make sure something like this will never happen to another child.
“Today’s a new beginning, and I think we shared that to every survivor in the courtroom today. We know that today’s a new beginning. Today’s a new start for healing, and it’s also a new start for trying to make change that’s gonna protect the new generation,” Erika Brosig, one of Barto’s victims, said.
Several of Barto’s victims are working to file a civil suit against people they said knew about the doctor’s behavior for years.
They’re also encouraging other survivors to come forward to tell their stories about Barto’s abuse.
“For other victims out there, please consider coming forward. You are not alone…you are not alone. You will be believed,” Jennifer Getz, one of Barto’s victims, said.