Dr. Johnnie Wilson “Jack” Barto, a 70-year-old former pediatrician now behind bars, was arrested in January on charges of molesting a 12-year-old girl in his office. Since then, he was been accused of inappropriately touching many other children over the past several decades. The doctor used his position “to feed his own, sick sexual desires,” said Pennsylvania’s Attorney General Josh Shapiro.
Police said he molested both girls and boys with documents indicating Barto often used his bare fingers to digitally penetrate girls and fondle the genitals of boys. In 1998, Barto was accused of sexually molesting two girls during office visits. He was never charged and denied the allegations. Two years later the Board of Medicine completed an investigation and ruled he could keep his license due to a lack of evidence.
In 1997, a 16-year-old girl had also told her mother than Barto inappropriately touched her during an exam. The mother, a physician herself, confronted Barto in the presence of the office manager and, according to documents, he “promised he would never examine a female patient again.” He was charged with involuntary deviate sexual intercourse involving the treatment of a 12-year-old girl in the mid-1990s who came in to treat an ear infection. The girl said he unclasped her bra and gave her a breast and vaginal exam, never even looking at her ear. The alleged victim “described how she was so upset, she was shaking so hard she was unable to reclasp her bra and only redressed enough to leave the exam room,” according to the criminal complaint.
Another woman confronted Barto in 2017 after the doctor made her wait outside the room while he examined her son’s genitals. He had the flu. The woman returned to see the doctor fondling her son and “immediately confronted” Barto, who walked away without offering any explanation.
The mother of two alleged victims, a 10-year-old girl and her 11-year-old brother, said Barto reached inside both children’s underwear “and began feeling around each of their genitals.” Another victim, a 7-year-old girl, told investigators she came to Barto for a sore throat and an ear infection. He “held a finger to his own lips and was silently ‘shushing’ “ her before touching her vaginal area.
The attorney general’s office filed 69 additional counts against Barto concerning incidences in 1990, 1991, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2012, according to court documents. Most of the alleged victims said Barto used his body as a shield to prevent parents from seeing the genital exams, ensuring they stood behind him so he could hide his actions. His license was suspended in January of this year.
The new charges against the pediatrician include indecent assault, aggravated indecent assault and child endangerment. His bail has been set at $1 million and a hearing is scheduled for August 10. While behind bars, police discovered Barto also fondled two female relatives when they were very young. More victims are likely to come forward.
Shapiro said 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.” He added, “This was a monstrous act by a predator pediatrician.”