Johnnie Barto, a former pediatrician at Laurel Pediatric Associates and Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center, is facing his first lawsuit since his sentencing in March.
Barto was convicted of 69 counts of aggravated indecent assault, indecent assault, and endangering the welfare of children and faces up to 158 years in prison.
The alleged victim, identified as “JOHN PT DOE,” his mother, sister and three Janes Does are suing Barto, the clinic he worked with and the hospital he was affiliated with. They claim the clinic and the hospital knew that Barto had previously molested patients and never did anything about it.
“The collective silence of various individuals in addition to the Defendants constitute over acts committed in pursuance of the common purpose to endanger the welfare of children,” the lawsuit states.
Barto was hit with the shocking sentence two months after he initially pleaded guilty to molesting two family members and no-contest to three other allegations brought by children he was accused of molesting at his practice.
When Barto pleaded guilty in December, he also said he sexually assaulted more than two dozen children while he practiced medicine.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said that Barto preyed on kids to feed his own sick desires.
“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,” Shapiro said. “People trusted him.”
Lawyers for the plaintiffs said they represent almost 40 former patients of Barto and the numbers continue to grow.
“We’re really just getting started,” said attorney Sarah Klein, a former Olympic gymnast who was one of the first known sexual abuse victims of former national team doctor Larry Nassar. “There’s a massive problem in the medical community here and in other places, and we’re going to insist on change that makes children safe.”