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Paediatrician gets at least 79 years for assaulting patients

Published:Tuesday | March 19, 2019 | 9:44 AM
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EBENSBURG, Pa. (AP) — A former Pennsylvania paediatrician was sentenced Monday to at least 79 years in prison for sexually assaulting 31 children, most of them patients, as his now-adult victims blasted not only their abuser but the system that let him get away with it for so long.

Dr Johnnie Barto of Johnstown was sentenced on dozens of criminal counts, including aggravated indecent assault and child endangerment.

Prosecutors said he spent decades abusing children in the exam room at his paediatric practice in western Pennsylvania and at local hospitals, having opted to become a paediatrician so he’d have a ready supply of victims.

He typically abused prepubescent girls.

One was an infant.

“I grieve for the little girl I should have been, for the childhood I should’ve had. ... I grieve for all the children you hurt,” Erika Brosig, who was sexually abused at age 13, said at Barto’s sentencing.

Brosig and 18 other people gave victim impact statements Monday, both in person and through a prosecutor, describing their pain and hurt.

Barto’s wife, Linda Barto, was among them.

“He has been lying to me about everything for all of the 52 years I have known him. ... He spent his whole sinister life lying and sneaking around, so he could carry on his abuse uninterrupted,” she said.

She said her heart was heavy for the victims.

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