Tuesday 17 September, 2019

Pediatrician admits to assaulting dozens of young patients

Johnnie Barto heads to Cambria County courtroom No. 3 for his hearing on Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018 in Ebensburg, Pa. The former Pennsylvania pediatrician pleaded guilty Thursday to sexually abusing two family members and admitted to sexually assaulting more than two dozen patients. (Todd Berkey/The Tribune-Democrat via AP)

Johnnie Barto heads to Cambria County courtroom No. 3 for his hearing on Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018 in Ebensburg, Pa. The former Pennsylvania pediatrician pleaded guilty Thursday to sexually abusing two family members and admitted to sexually assaulting more than two dozen patients. (Todd Berkey/The Tribune-Democrat via AP)

A former Pennsylvania pediatrician has admitted he sexually assaulted 31 children, most of them patients.

Dr. Johnnie Barto of Johnstown pleaded guilty on Thursday to sexually abusing two family members and admitted to sexually assaulting more than two dozen patients.

The abuse spanned decades and typically involved girls and boys between ages 8 and 12. One of the victims was 2 weeks old. The attorney general's office says Barto molested children in the exam room at Laurel Pediatric Associates in Cambria County and at local hospitals.

The 71-year-old was arrested in January and remains behind bars pending his sentencing. His medical license has been suspended.

Barto's lawyer, David Weaver, says the plea will allow "healing" to begin for Barto's victims, his family and himself.

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