Police caught a man while he was still in the act of raping a woman on a train in broad daylight. However, investigators said that the passengers may face criminal charges.
Philadelphia police started investigating what they considered an exceptionally disturbing case involving the rape of a woman on public transport. Although authorities took 35-year-old Fiston Ngoy into custody, detectives said it’s the passengers that might face criminal charges.
Common sense tells us to avoid dimly lit areas, stay in crowded places, and call for help when we need it. Unfortunately, despite one woman checking off all the boxes, she was still subject to a horrific sexual assault as everyone else watched.
While riding a commuter train, an unnamed woman was attacked and violently raped by a stranger, CBS News reports. Police say Fiston Ngoy, who is a homeless transient, inappropriately touched the victim multiple times on the train before tearing off her clothes and raping her. The most disturbing aspect of the assault was the fact that the train was packed with people, all of whom refused to help.
Superintendent Timothy Bernhardt of the Upper Darby Police Department says that surveillance video captured the entire attack, including the passengers who not only watched the horrific incident unfold but may have recorded it with their cell phones. It wasn’t until a female employee of Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation saw “something wasn’t right” with the victim and called the police.
Bernhardt confirmed that the rape continued for 8 minutes until SEPTA police waiting at the next stop entered the train car. The attacker was reportedly still in the act of raping the woman when officers boarded, and they were forced to pull him off her.
“Were they watching? I don’t know. Again, we’re still going through the video but there was a lot of people, in my opinion, that should’ve intervened. Somebody should’ve done something. It speaks to where we are in society. Who would allow something like that to take place? So it’s troubling but again, we’re working on that and we’re trying to identify anyone that we saw coming on and off the El at that time,” Upper Darby Police Superintendent Tim Bernhardt said.
Police say not a single witness called 911 during the attack. They launched an investigation of those who were on board at the time in order to determine if criminal charges should be brought against them for filming the rape, according to KTLA.
“What we want is everyone to be angry and disgusted and to be resolute about making the system safer,” SEPTA Police Chief Thomas J. Nestel III said. “I can tell you that people were holding their phone up in the direction of this woman being attacked,” he said.
Ngoy was charged with rape, aggravated indecent assault, and other related counts. He claims that he knows the victim and that the act was consensual. However, he couldn’t give detectives her name.
Police haven’t released the surveillance video but confirmed that it shows Ngoy harassing and groping the woman for nearly half an hour as she repeatedly pushed him away and tells him to leave her alone. He then rips her pants down and initiates the sexual assault as passengers continue to watch. The entire encounter lasted approximately 40 minutes.
Criminals commit atrocities every day, but it’s appalling to see so many people witness a crime unfolding and fail to act. Not only did these bystanders refuse to intervene but they couldn’t even be bothered to call the police. While most people wouldn’t sit by and watch as a woman is attacked, it’s disturbing to know that there are those who would not only watch but record the incident for whatever sick purpose.
Although the authorities didn’t specify what charges the passengers may face, any legal action would likely refer to their recording the crime as it unfolded. Hopefully, those who did so will be identified and held accountable.