Johnstown doctor accused of inappropriately touching 12-year-old girl
A longtime Johnstown pediatrician was charged Thursday after he allegedly touched a 12-year-old patient inappropriately during a scheduled visit Dec. 21.
Johnnie “Jack” Barto, 70, of the 200 block of Delta Drive, has been charged with two counts of indecent assault and one count each of corruption of minors and endangering the welfare of a child, according to a criminal complaint filed by Richland Township police.
Police say the alleged victim told her mother that near the end of her visit with Barto at Laurel Pediatrics, he rubbed his hand on her private area while she was seated on his lap.
During an interview with police, the complaint says Barto “made admissions to having inappropriate contact with the child,” demonstrating that he was holding the child on his lap with his hand directly over her vaginal area.
“When asked about holding the child in that location, (Barto) described holding her tightly in her crotch area and also sometimes on her waist,” the complaint says.
The victim, during a forensic interview at the county’s Child Advocacy Center, also told authorities that at a prior appointment, Barto “would rest his elbow on her crotch area while he was talking.”
Barto was accused in 1998 of sexually molesting two girls during office visits, but maintained his innocence and fought the allegations before clearing his name in 2000.
In May of that year, the state Board of Medicine in Harrisburg, which had been investigating the matter for two years, permitted Barto to keep his license and begin serving patients again, reporting there was no evidence to support the allegations.
“It’s like a big weight off of you,” Barto told The Tribune-Democrat afterward, saying the allegations took a toll on his health.
“When this was happening, it was never far from your thoughts, even during the good times.”
Barto was arraigned via video from Cambria County Prison by District Judge Susan Gindlesperger, who sent bail at 10 percent of $10,000.
Barto is not to have contact with juveniles without supervision, according to the conditions of bail set by Gindlesperger.
He is scheduled for a preliminary hearing Jan. 24 and his case is being handled by the state attorney general’s office, according to Cambria County District Attorney Kelly Callihan.
Johnstown’s Victim Services Inc. offers a free and confidential 24-hour hotline for crime victims, which can be reached at 1-800-755-1983.