Bystanders accused of filming woman raped on train, could face charges

·3-min read

There could be more charges after police said bystanders did nothing to stop a man who allegedly raped a woman on a train.

Fiston Ngoy, 35, was arrested after allegedly raping a woman on a train in Upper Darby, in Philadelphia, on Wednesday.

Superintendent Timothy Bernhardt of the Upper Darby Police Department said CCTV showed people were on the train when the woman was assaulted. Supt Bernhardt said no one intervened.

Not only did no one call the police, it is now being investigated if people stood by and filmed the assault on their phones.

Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) Police Chief Thomas J Nestel III told reporters passengers were seen “holding their phone up in the direction of this woman being attacked”.

“What we want is everyone to be angry and disgusted and to be resolute about making the system safer,” he said.

Fiston Ngoy, 35, is pictured.
Fiston Ngoy, 35, allegedly raped a woman on a Philadelphia train. Source: NBC Philadelphia

People who recorded the attack could be charged

Police are yet to say how many people were on the train. They have not released CCTV.

Supt Bernhardt said people who recorded the attack and failed to intervene could possibly be charged, but that would be up to the Delaware County District Attorney’s office to determine, The New York Times reported.

Both the man and woman got on the train at the same stop on Wednesday night in North Philadelphia. 

Officers pulled the man off the woman at the last stop. They responded within about three minutes of a 911 call from a transportation authority employee, authorities said.

Investigators said in the affidavit that Ngoy sat down next to the woman about a minute after he boarded the train car, shortly after 9.15pm. The video shows her pushing him away multiple times until he is seen ripping her pants down at about 9.52pm.

Offender ignored repeated pleas for him to go away

According to the court documents, the woman told police that Ngoy ignored her pleas to go away.

More than two dozen train stops passed as the man harassed, groped and eventually raped the woman, the police chief for the SEPTA said at a news conference on Monday.

Ngoy claimed in his statement to police that he knew the victim, but couldn’t remember her name and said the encounter was consensual.

Ngoy, who listed his last address as a homeless shelter, remained in custody on US$180,000 bail. His initial court appearance is scheduled for October 25. Court records show he had not requested a public defender as of Monday.

SEPTA issued a statement calling it a “horrendous criminal act” and urged anyone witnessing such a thing to report it to authorities by calling 911, pressing an emergency button on every train car or using the authority's emergency safety app.

“There were other people on the train who witnessed this horrific act, and it may have been stopped sooner if a rider called 911,” the authority said.

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