Train passengers held up their phones in the direction of an attack on a woman passenger that resulted in a rape, the police chief of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority told KYW-TV.
What are the details?
“There were people witnessing the act with phones in their hands,” SEPTA Police Chief Thomas Nestel told the station of the attack during a train ride last week in Upper Darby, which borders Philadelphia.
Nestel added that “people were holding their phone[s] up in the direction of this woman being attacked,” KYW reported.
Image source: YouTube screenshot
And despite all the apparent phone usage, none of the passengers called 911, he said, according to the station.
Meanwhile, the suspect — Fiston Ngoy — told police he recognized the woman, approached her to start a conversation, and that their encounter was consensual, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported, citing the affidavit of probable cause for his arrest. The woman told police Ngoy’s claims are false, the paper added.
More from the Inquirer:
Investigators say that the victim was alone when Ngoy, 35, sat down next to her in the railcar Wednesday night and that he ignored her pleas to go away. That account, along with the violent attack that followed, was corroborated by SEPTA surveillance footage, the affidavit said.
Ngoy remained in custody Monday in lieu of $18,000 bail, awaiting an Oct. 25 preliminary hearing in Upper Darby.
The assault took place just before 10 p.m. Wednesday as the train on the Market-Frankford Line headed west toward Upper Darby. It was unclear Monday how crowded the train was at the time, but Upper Darby Police Superintendent Timothy Bernhardt said that had bystanders intervened, the victim may have been spared from the attack.
‘Somebody should have done something’
“There was a lot of people, in my opinion, that should have intervened. Somebody should have done something,” Bernhardt said Saturday, according to the paper. “It speaks to where we are in society and who would allow something like that to take place. So it’s troubling.”
Nestel on Monday added to the Inquirer that his SEPTA officers need train riders to assist in such situations: “Riders don’t always know when to contact the police. 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.”
The paper said the alleged victim told police she recalled getting on the train and then nothing until officers pulled the attacker off her.
Image source: YouTube screenshot
She told police she had a few beers after work and got on the wrong train, the Inquirer reported, adding that investigators said in the affidavit she boarded the subway car at 9:15 p.m. at the Frankford Transportation Center in northeast Philadelphia.
Ngoy got on the train about a minute later, the paper said, citing the affidavit, and he began to talk to her shortly afterward and moved to the seat next to her. The Inquirer said the woman repeatedly pushed Ngoy away, and at one point video shows he grabbed her breast.
“Throughout this time, the victim is obviously struggling with keeping him off of her,” investigators wrote in the affidavit, the paper reported.
Ngoy raped the woman at 9:52 p.m., and SEPTA Transit Police officers pulled him off her after the train arrived at the 69th Street stop in Upper Darby, the Inquirer said, citing the affidavit.
More from the paper:
Ngoy later told police that he had seen the woman before and then struck up a conversation with the woman on the train that escalated into kissing and physical contact, the affidavit said. He claimed that she initiated the sexual encounter and never resisted his advances.
The victim, in a statement given to police at Delaware County Memorial Hospital, said she had never seen Ngoy before, and never gave him permission to touch her.
Ngoy faces charges of rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, sexual assault, and related offenses. There was no indication Monday he had an attorney.
He listed Broad Street Ministry — an outreach center in Center City — as his last known address. A spokesperson for the organization said she could not comment Monday on whether Ngoy received services at the ministry.
Nestel told KYW that train riders must “be angry, be disgusted, be resolute about making the system safe by contacting us” when they witness crimes.
SEPTA Riders Held Up Phones As Woman Was Raped On El Train In Upper Darby, Authorities Say