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Sex Predator gets 35 to 70 years

By Staff | Oct 5, 2010

Gregory A. Barto, 46, of Muncy Creek Township, said nothing as Lycoming County Judge Marc F. Lovecchio handed down the term of 35 to 70 years in state prison.

Lovecchio postponed sentencing for Barto’s wife, Amber Barto, 32, until after she undergoes a 60-day evaluation at the State Correctional Institution at Muncy. Her sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 2.

The couple collaborated to develop sexual relationships with girls under age 18 and were found guilty by jurors in May for involving themselves in exploitations, fueling the teens with narcotics and filming themselves having sex with the adolescents.

The verdict was handed down after a four-day trial, with less than 30 minutes of deliberation by the jurors on May 7.

As part of the sentencing hearing, Townsend Velkoff of the state Sexual Offender Assessment Board determined Barto to be a sexually violent predator. Barto’s criminal history includes 10 arrests and eight convictions.

Lovecchio allowed numerous forms of testimony during the sentencing hearing, including that of the distraught mother of one of the girls whom Barto raped.

Chief prosecutor, county Assistant District Attorney Mary C. Kilgus, alleged that Gregory Barto, while in Lycoming County Prison, threatened the prosecutor and her family. The prosecutor said authorities have recorded conversations between the inmate, speaking to Amber Barto and another family member.

“I can’t understand your conduct,” Lovecchio said.

The judge said he has coached girls’ soccer and many girls the same age as those victimized by Barto who regularly put their faith and trust in adults.

Barto continues to say he has been victimized by lies.

He claims the investigation has literally “scrapped” his tire and automobile business and the state police investigation was a “joke.”

Investigators before sentencing said it appeared Barto hasn’t a “clue to the seriousness of his offenses.”

Barto admitted he had sex with one of the girls, but claimed he thought she was 18 and that it was consensual.

He denies raping other girls, describing himself as a “weekend warrior,” who used cocaine and magic mushrooms, but hadn’t touched a stitch of liquor since 1989.

In May, Barto was found guilty of multiple counts, including rape by force, making terroristic threats, criminal attempt to corrupt the morals of minors, sexual exploitation of a child, sexual abuse of a child, possession of drug paraphernalia, indecent assault, possession with intent to deliver cocaine, criminal conspiracy to possession marijuana and cocaine with intent to deliver them.

His wife was found guilty of possession with intent to deliver cocaine, criminal conspiracy to deliver marijuana and cocaine, corruption of minors, sexual abuse of children, and possession of paraphernalia.

“Keep your head up, Amber,” Barto said as he was led out of the court to Lycoming County Prison by sheriff’s deputies.