JOHNSTOWN, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania regulators are being harshly criticized for clearing a pediatrician who’d been accused of sexual abuse 20 years ago and who’s now charged with molesting many more children since.
The state Board of Medicine restored the medical license of Dr. Johnnie “Jack” Barto in 2000 after the pediatrician denied fondling two young girls during office visits.
Barto was arrested in January. He faces sexual assault charges involving more than 30 girls and boys since the late 1980s, including a dozen after regulators cleared him of wrongdoing.
His 1990s-era accusers and their parents say the Board of Medicine failed to stop him when it had the chance and bears responsibility for what investigators are calling a “pervasive and prolonged pattern of abuse.”
Barto has pleaded not guilty.