A newly filed civil lawsuit stirs the case of Johnnie Barto, the convicted pedophile pediatrician with the new information that his employers knew that he was a threat to the children and yet had taken steps to protect him before police could arrest him.
Five former patients of Johnnie Barto who are victims are seeking financial compensation from his employers. In March 2019, Johnnie Barto was sentenced to at least 79 years in jail for being convicted of the cases of sexually assaulting 31 children, the majority of them were his patients.
As per the lawsuit filed by Johnstown sex abuse lawyer claims, Laurel Pediatric Associates knew that Johnnie Barto posed a serious danger to his patients for at least two decades and yet they allowed him to treat and molest these children. No comments were received on this from Laurel Pediatrics.
There are anonymous plaintiffs, four Jaen Doe and one John Doe, who are seeking financial compensation from Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center, the hospital where Johnnie Barto enjoyed privileges. In a statement released from this hospital, they said that Barto’s actions were reprehensible and they dispute any wrongdoings on the part of Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center.
In a press conference held by renowned Johnstown sex abuse lawyer Sarah Klein, she said, “We are just getting started.” Known to be a former Olympic gymnast and also one of the first known victims of sexual abuse of Larry Nassar, the former national team doctor, she is an experienced Pittsburgh sexual abuse lawyer for this case. She also said, “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."
Barto was accused before in 2000 when he appeared before the Pennsylvania Board of Medicine for molesting two young girls in 1990. This was a chance for the State authorities to put a stop to this but they allowed Barto to keep practicing, claiming that the allegations were “incongruous to his reputation.”
Barto is not only a reputed pediatrician in Johnstown but also an elected member of the school board and had hundreds of supporters who never believed these allegations. After being cleared by the medical board, Barto felt to be “invincible” as he said, and went on to abuse and assault more young patients till the time he was arrested in January 2018.
The lawsuit said that the colleagues of Barto were “on notice that Barto presented an unreasonably high risk of harm to his minor patients, and yet through silence, acquiescence, denial, and misrepresentation they failed to act in any way to protect Barto's minor patients."
Two more health providers, Dr. Elaine Confer and nurse practitioner Bradley Callihan, are known for minimizing the allegations of the patients against Barto. They still work for the same facility namely Laurel Pediatrics.
The mother of two patients, an 8 years old girl and her 10 years old brother who were molested by Barto in October 2016 at Laurel, confronted Confer, the regular pediatrician about this. To this allegation, Confer "confirmed that she had been informed previously about Barto's inappropriate conduct with children," and promised "they would speak with him again about his 'odd bedside manner,'" the suit said. As per the lawsuit filed by Pittsburgh sexual abuse lawyer, Confer did nothing.
After a decade almost, Barto, Callihan and an unidentified office manager had met the parents of a patient, a 16 years old girl, who accused Barto of performing unnecessary breast and genital exams. As per the suit, Callihan and the office manager said that Barto was just being thorough and the parents of the girl would have been praising Barto if he had discovered any lump.