A former Pennsylvania pediatrician was sentenced to at least 79 years in prison on Monday for the sexual assault of 31 children, most of them patients, in a case that state medical regulators failed to act on nearly two decades ago.

Dr. Johnnie Barto was sentenced on dozens of counts, including aggravated indecent assault and child endangerment,the Los Angeles Times reports

Prosecutors said he spent decades abusing boys and girls in the exam room at his pediatric practice in western Pennsylvania and at local hospitals, with his victims typically ranging in age from 8 to 12. One was an infant.

Nineteen people gave victim impact statements, both in person and through a prosecutor, describing how Barto caused them to feel hopelessness and despair, caused depression and anxiety and instilled a fear of doctors.
Barto’s wife, Linda Barto, was among them.

“He has been lying to me about everything for all of the 52 years I have known him,” she said. “He spent his whole sinister life lying and sneaking around, so he could carry on his abuse uninterrupted.” She said her heart was heavy for the victims.
The attorney general’s office had asked for 31 to 62 years in prison.

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