A woman was raped by a stranger on a commuter train in suburban Philadelphia while other riders looked on and did not intervene, authorities said Friday.
The attack took place at about 11 p.m. aboard the westbound train on the Market-Frankford Line. As the train went past a station, an employee of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority saw that “something wasn't right" with a woman on board the train and called the police, Bernhardt said. Officers responded to the next stop on the train and found the woman and arrested the man.
Superintendent Timothy Bernhardt of the Upper Darby Police Department said the assault was captured on surveillance video and he was shocked after watching the footage that showed other riders on the train at the time who did not stop the attack or call police.
"There was a lot of people, in my opinion, that should have intervened; somebody should have done something," Bernhardt said, calling the fact that "no one did anything" to help the woman "disturbing."
He continued, “It speaks to where we are in society; I mean, who would allow something like that to take place? So it’s troubling."
The victim was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment. Berhardt said she did not know her attacker.
SEPTA issued a statement calling it a “horrific act" and urging anyone witnessing such such an attack to report it to authorities.
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"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 spokesman Andrew Busch said in a statement. "There were other people on the train who witnessed this horrific act, and it may have been stopped sooner if a rider called 911. SEPTA urges anyone who observes a crime being committed or any dangerous situation occurring to report it. Anyone witnessing an emergency should immediately call 911."
Upper Darby police are now leading the investigation and SEPTA police are assisting, the transit agency spokesman said Friday.
The suspect was identified as Fiston Ngoy, 35, who is believed to be a homeless man, Bernhardt said. Ngoy has been charged with rape, aggravated indecent assault and related counts, according to Delaware County court records.
Court documents don't list a defense attorney, and a listed number for him couldn't be found Saturday.