Doctors are some of the most trusted people in our society because we entrust them with our personal health. However, there are some doctors who abuse this trust and in the case of pediatricians, this abuse of trust can turn out to be a parent's worst nightmare.
Pennsylvania pediatrician took advantage of children
Dr. Johnnie Barto, a Pennsylvania-based pediatrician, was recently slapped with a prison sentence of 79 to 158 years for sexually abusing about 31 children. The 71-year-old doctor pleaded guilty to molesting the children during a court session in December of last year. He has reportedly been molesting his patients since the 1980s, and some of them include members of his own family.
Nineteen people provided victim impact statements at one of the court hearings involving Dr. Barto at the Cambria County Court. Prosecutors reported that the sexual assault incidents took place in examination rooms at Pennsylvania hospitals. Reports revealed that the doctor’s victims were both boys and girls mostly in the 8 to 12-year-old bracket. However, he is also said to have assaulted a 2-week-old child.
Some of the charges laid on the accused include unlawful contact with a minor, corruption of minors, endangering children’s welfare and multiple counts of aggravated indecent assault. Josh Shapiro, the Attorney General of Pennsylvania, described Dr. Barto as a serial abuser that has been hiding in a doctor’s coat. Shapiro also thanked the victims for having the courage to come forward and expose the doctor, thus allowing the law to bring him to justice.
"Dr. Johnnie Barto used his position of authority—as the pediatrician who families relied on—to feed his sick desires and take advantage of parents and children seeking basic health care," stated the Attorney General.
Justice served too late
The doctor’s sentence was delivered just one day after numerous women revealed that Barto molested them during their childhood days. However, this is not the first time that the doctor has been accused of such indecent behavior. He was first accused of molesting children in 2000, however, at that time, the Johnstown community did not believe he would do such things. They therefore dismissed the claims and acquitted him of all accusations.
Unfortunately, the doctor continued with his evil acts and even assaulted more children after getting back his license. It might be a win for society that Dr. Barto has been brought to justice, but for his victims, it is a classic case of too little too late.