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Woman Raped On Train While Fellow Passengers Did Nothing To Intervene, Authorities Say
The attack, which took place on a commuter train near Philadelphia and lasted for eight minutes, was captured on surveillance video.
A woman was raped on a commuter train just outside of Philadelphia while onlookers watched and did nothing, authorities say.
The victim, whose name has not been released, was a passenger on the train heading westbound on the Market-Frankford Line near Philadelphia on Wednesday night when a man "attempted to touch her a few times," Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority spokesperson Andrew Busch said, according to The New York Times. When the woman rebuffed the man’s advances, “he proceeded to rip her clothes off,” Busch said.
The suspect was later identified as a 35-year-old homeless man, Fiston Ngoy.
The attack was caught on surveillance camera and lasted an entire eight minutes, according to the NYT.
Superintendent Timothy Bernhardt of the Upper Darby Township Police Department said fellow passengers failed to intervene or call 911.
“There was a lot of people, in my opinion, that should have intervened; somebody should have done something,” said Bernhardt, according to the Associated Press. “It speaks to where we are in society; I mean, who would allow something like that to take place? So it’s troubling.”
According to the New York Times Bernhardt declined to comment on how many passengers witnessed the attack but said, “Collectively, they could have gotten together and done something.”
A SEPTA employee boarded the train car and noticed, “something wasn’t right,” said Bernhardt, according to the AP. The employee notified police, who boarded the train at the next stop.
“The assault was observed by a SEPTA employee, who called 911, enabling SEPTA officers to respond immediately and apprehend the suspect in the act,” SEPTA said in a statement emailed to Oxygen.com.
Authorities arrested Ngoy and took the victim to the hospital, where she cooperated with police and provided them with information.
“What this woman endured at the hands of this guy, what she’s been able to provide for us, it’s been unbelievable,” said Bernhardt, according to the AP.
“There were other people on the train who witnessed this horrific act,” SEPTA continued in the statement to Oxygen.com. “And it may have stopped sooner if a rider called 911.”
Superintendent Bernhardt said there were reports of train passengers recording the assault on their phones, according to the NYT, but police hadn’t confirmed the claims. Bernhardt added that the decision to possibly file criminal charges against the passengers would be left to the Delaware County District Attorney’s Office, but noted that the state of Pennsylvania had not adopted a Good Samaritan law, which could make bringing charges difficult.
“I’m appalled by those who did nothing to help this woman,” Bernhardt said, according to the New York Times. “Anybody that was on that train has to look in the mirror and ask why they didn’t intervene or why they didn’t do something.”
Ngoy has been charged with rape, sexual assault, and aggravated indecent assault without consent.
He remains at the Delaware County Jail on $180,000 bail.