There were reportedly several passengers who saw the eight-minute assault and did not intervene or call 911.
A sexual assault took place aboard a Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority train where passengers did not intervene, say authorities. SEPTA told PEOPLE the incident, which took place on Wednesday, was a "horrendous criminal act" and urged "anyone who observes a crime being committed or any dangerous situation occurring to report it." A man named Fiston Ngoy has been taken into custody for the alleged rape. Ngoy sat down next to the woman on a train traveling westbound on the Market-Frankford Line and allegedly tried to touch her, The New York Times reported. SEPTA spokesman Andrew Busch said Ngoy then allegedly "proceeded to rip her clothes off."
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the woman boarded the train around 9.15 pm and the assault took place just before 10 p.m. During this time Ngoy had boarded the train and began talking to the woman. Then he began to touch her inappropriately. “Throughout this time, the victim is obviously struggling with keeping him off of her,” investigators wrote in the affidavit. Ngoy claimed that he had known the woman and the incident was consensual. The woman denied the claims and stated that she had never seen Ngoy before, and never gave him permission to touch her. It wasn't until a transportation authority employee boarded the train that the incident was reported to police, Busch told The Times. Ngoy has been charged with rape, indecent assault, and related offenses.
Upper Darby Police Superintendent Timothy Bernhardt believes that if bystanders intervened, the victim may have been spared from the assault. “There was a lot of people, in my opinion, that should have intervened. Somebody should have done something,” Bernhardt said on Saturday. “It speaks to where we are in society and who would allow something like that to take place. So it’s troubling.” Added, Transit Police Chief Thomas Nestel III, "We want everyone to be angry, disgusted, and to join us in being resolute in keeping our system safe. We need the public to notify us when they see something that seems to be unusual. Riders don’t always know when to contact the police,” he said. “I’m here to tell you that when you see inappropriate behavior, behavior you wouldn’t want your 10-year-old to see, call 911.”
A Woman Was Raped on a Pennsylvania Train. Witnesses Didn’t Even Call 911.— Kimberley Johnson (@AuthorKimberley) October 18, 2021
And people criticize rape victims for not coming forward. https://t.co/mOizyxdLgO
Bernhardt added that surveillance footage from the train car indicates that passengers could have helped. "I'm appalled by those who did nothing to help this woman," he said, per the 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 is being held at Delaware County Jail on a $180,000 bail, reports 6ABC. The 35-year-old, who has listed his last address as a homeless shelter, is due to appear in court on Oct. 25.
If there is anyone who witnessed the assault, they are encouraged to contact the Upper Darby Township Police.
If you are being subjected to sexual assault, or know of anyone who is, please call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673)
.@SEPTA is reminding passengers of where the two emergency call buttons on each car are located, and are asking riders to call 911 if they can’t get to the buttons, when they witness criminal act. Quality of ride issues can be reported on Septa’s app. @6abc https://t.co/o8IwAwV5xW pic.twitter.com/B9unitzUrY— Christie Ileto (@Christie_Ileto) October 18, 2021