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Police: Pediatrician admitted touching 12-year-old girl inappropriately

RICHLAND TOWNSHIP -- Johnnie "Jack" Barto, a well-known Johnstown-area pediatrician, did not deny that he inappropriately rubbed and touched a 12-year-old girl in his office.

According to court documents, Barto is accused of touching and rubbing the girl's private parts in December.

The girl told her mother after the visit that Barto touched her directly and through her clothing, according to court documents.

The child's mother contacted Laurel Pediatrics Associates, where Barto practices medicine, to speak with him, and the woman told police that Barto "stated to her that her daughter ... was not lying about what she told her mother," according to the affidavit.

In an interview with Richland Township police, Barto again did not deny the "inappropriate contact," and told police that "he was holding the child tightly on his lap," with his hand on her private area, according to the affidavit.

Laurel Pediatrics declined to comment to a 6 News reporter and refused to indicate whether Barto had been suspended or fired.

Barto, 70, of Delta Drive, Richland Township, does not have an attorney listed in online court documents.

This is not the first time Barto has been accused of inappropriate contact with patients, although the last time he maintained his innocence.

In 1998, two girls accused Barto of touching them inappropriately, but, according to documents from the Pennsylvania State Board of Medicine. His license was reinstated in 2000 after the state found the allegations not to be credible.

During those allegations, many people defended Barto's character both in newspaper articles and before the State Board of Medicine.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro, whose office is prosecuting the case, said in a statement Thursday that he was concerned there may be more victims.

"These charges are deeply disturbing because the accused is a pediatrician -- someone who is in close contact with children and in whom patients and the community place their trust,” Shapiro said.

Shapiro asked anyone who believes their child may have been a victim of abuse to contact either the Attorney General's office or the Richland Towmship Police Department at one of the following numbers: Office of the Attorney General at (412) 565-7680 or Cambria County non-emergency at (814) 472-2100.

Barto, who has offices in Cambria and Somerset counties, was arraigned Thursday afternoon and has a hearing scheduled for Jan. 24.

He was ordered to "have no contact with children without adult supervision."

Barto faces charges of indecent assault, corruption of minors and endangering the welfare of children.


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