Johnnie Barto

Cambria County Prison via AP

A new civil lawsuit alleges a pediatric practice in Johnstown knew one of its physicians was a threat to young patients, and took steps to protect him before he was arrested.

Five former patients of Johnstown pediatrician Johnnie Barto are seeking financial damages from his employers. In March, Barto was sentenced to at least 79 years in prison for sexually assaulting 31 children, most of them patients. 

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A former Pennsylvania pediatrician has been sentenced to 79 to 158 years in prison for sexually assaulting 31 children, most of them patients. 

Andrew Harnik / AP

Sixty-nine charges were announced against a Johnstown pediatrician accused of sexually assaulting patients and members of his family starting in the 1980s and through this year. Similar charges were filed against 70-year-old Johnnie Barto in January, March and April.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro said many of the assaults took place under the guise of medical treatment at Barto's Cambria County practice. Shapiro said sometimes parents were in the room, but Barto would position his body to block their view of the abuse.