Dr. Johnnie "Jack" Barto

Dr. Johnnie "JacK" Barto heads into Cambria County Courthouse for his sentencing on more than 70 charges related to allegations he inappropriately touched young patients and family members on Monday, March 18, 2019.

EBENSBURG – An attempt by former employers of Johnnie W. Barto to dismiss lawsuits brought to court by 45 of the former pediatrician’s victims and their families was dismissed by Cambria County President Judge Norman A. Krumenacker, The Tribune-Democrat has learned.

Krumenacker rejected attempts by Laurel Pediatrics, Conemaugh Valley Memorial Hospital, Johnstown Pediatrics and Duke Lifepoint Healthcare to dismiss the suits.

Barto, 73, was sentenced to 79 to 158 years in state prison after his 2019 conviction on charges related to the sexual abuse of 31 victims over several decades. He is currently serving his sentence at SCI-Waymart in Wayne County.

The plaintiffs in the civil cases are all identified as John Doe and Jane Doe, according to court documentation.

Krumenacker overruled objections from all four parties as follows:

• Conemaugh Valley Memorial Hospital: Childhood sexual assault vicarious liability, negligent hiring, negligent supervision, negligent misrepresentation, negligent infliction of emotional distress, civil conspiracy to protect reputation and finances, medical negligence, violations of Title IX and corporate negligence.

• Johnstown Pediatric Associates: Childhood sexual assault and vicarious liability, civil conspiracy to protect reputation and finances and medical negligence.

• Laurel Pediatric Associates: Childhood sexual assault and vicarious liability, intentional infliction of emotional distress and civil conspiracy to protect reputation and finances.

• Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center and Duke Lifepoint Healthcare: Childhood sexual assault vicarious liability, negligent hiring, negligent supervision, negligent misrepresentation, negligent infliction of emotional distress, civil conspiracy to protect reputation and finances, medical negligence, violations of Title IX and corporate negligence.

The judge also denied without prejudice motions to strike references to “specialized medical judgment” and “special duty of care” and objections to strike punitive damages.

The ruling was filed April 16.

Earlier this week, The Associated Press reported that prominent Republican state senators put their support behind legislation in Pennsylvania to change the law to allow now-adult victims of child sexual abuse to sue the perpetrators, or institutions that did not prevent acts years or decades prior.

The report continued that childhood victims of sexual assault lost the right to sue in Pennsylvania when they turned 18 or were young adults, depending on state law at the time.

Krumenacker heard arguments from counsel concerning the appeal on Feb. 17. 

Shawn Curtis is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at (814) 532-5085. Follow him on Twitter @ShawnCurtis430.​

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