Pediatrician Who Molested Dozens of Children 'Groomed This Town,' Victim Says
For decades, families in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, took their children to see Dr. Johnnie Barto, unaware of what he was doing to them.
For decades, families in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, took their children to see Dr. Johnnie "Jack" Barto, unaware of what he was doing to them.
He appeared to be a pillar of the community — singing in a church choir and presiding over the school board — but he had a dark secret.
"He groomed this town, he groomed this community, he groomed everybody to believe that he was incapable of doing anything wrong," one of the women, Erika Brosig, told Inside Edition.
Last year, he admitted to molesting dozens of patients — girls and boys who had visited him for check-ups since the 1980s.
Now, nine women who were sexually assaulted by Dr. Barto as children are speaking to Inside Edition about the nightmare they suffered at his hands.
Jennifer Getz's mother took her to see Barto when she was 8 because she had recurring strep throat. He molested her in the examining room.
"It hurt," she said. "It hurt a lot. I remember crying and then when he was done I left the room and met my mother out in the hallway and I remember crying to her that he hurt me."
Her mother, Shirley Lux, is horrified to this day. "Nobody should ever be allowed to do that to a child. Nobody," she said.
Brooke Rush was molested by Barto when she was 11.
"He took his left hand and slipped it into my underwear," she said. "I felt trapped, as though I was a thousand pounds on that bed."
Adrienne Cochrane was molested by Barto during a routine physical at age 11.
"At the time you're just confused, thinking, 'I don't think this is right but I guess it is. I don't know, he's the doctor.'"
In 2000, Barto was taken before the medical board, accused of molesting two girls, but the town rallied around him.
"People in this community wrote to the paper in support of him," Monique Drobnak said.
But finally last year, after four decades of medical practice, Barto was arrested. When the story broke, more victims contacted prosecutors.
He admitted to sexually assaulting 31 children in offenses dating back to the 1980s. At age 71, he was sentenced to a minimum of 79 years in prison.
The survivors who took him down now refer to themselves as "sister warriors."
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