A Pennsylvania man is facing rape and assault charges after he allegedly attacked a woman aboard a public transit train last week as other riders looked on but did nothing to intervene, police said on Friday.
The woman was reportedly assaulted by the 35-year-old suspect as they rode the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) Market-Frankfort line as it traveled towards the town of Upper Darby, NBC News reported.
“The assault was observed by a SEPTA employee, who called 911, enabling SEPTA officers to respond immediately and apprehend the suspect in the act,” said Andrew Busch, a SEPTA spokesperson, in a statement.
ABC News added: “An employee of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority who was in the vicinity as the train went past called police to report that ‘something wasn’t right’ with a woman aboard the train.”
Upper Darby Police Superintendent Timothy Bernhardt later identified the suspect as Fiston Ngoy, reports said.
Video surveillance from the train clearly shows the alleged assault, according to Bernhardt, who also said it shows that no one intervened on the woman’s behalf.
“It’s disturbing,” he said. “I’m shocked, I have no words for it. I just can’t imagine seeing what you were seeing through your own eyes and seeing what this woman was going through that no one would step in and help her.”
“It’s disturbing that there were definitely people on the El and no one did anything to intervene or help this woman,” 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 superintendent added.
SEPTA officials called the assault a “horrific act” and urged riders to contact police if they see such incidents occurring in the future.
“There were other people on the train who witnessed this horrific act, and it may have been stopped sooner if a rider called 911,” Busch added according to NBC Philadelphia. “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.”
The outlet noted further that Ngoy is believed to be homeless.
The victim was taken to a regional hospital for treatment, according to Bernhardt. She did not know her attacker, he said, adding that Ngoy was arrested after the train pulled into the 69th Street terminal around 10 p.m. Wednesday.
“She’s on the mend,” Bernhardt told reporters. “Hopefully she will get through this.”
Violent crime has been rising in Philadelphia for most of the past year, as is the case in most large American cities, though authorities say arrests are increasing and as such, the crime rate is leveling off.
An update on anti-violence initiatives last month revealed that homicides in the city were at 374, or 17 percent higher than the same period in 20200.
Former Upper Darby police chief Michael Chitwood blames both police and the city’s left-wing prosecutor, Larry Krasner, whose initial campaign was funded in part by a group tied to billionaire George Soros.
“I think two things happen. The first thing is the police department. We’re our own worst enemy when it comes to dealing with the public,” he told the Delaware Valley Journal this week.
“The second thing is, you have this elected DA who does not prosecute violent offenders,” Chitwood added. “Those individuals that commit these heinous types of crimes like rape, aggravated assault, murder, they have to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”
Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer denied claims that witnesses filmed the alleged rape, declaring that it was “simply not true.”
“There is a narrative out there that people sat there on the El train and watched this transpire and took videos of it for their own gratification,” Stollsteimer said on Oct. 21. “That is simply not true. It did not happen. We have security video from SEPTA that shows that is not the true narrative.”
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