A woman was raped by a stranger on a commuter train in suburban Philadelphia in the presence of other riders who a police official said “should have done something.”
The 35-year-old homeless man identified as Fiston Ngoy, harassed the victim for more than 40 minutes. More than two dozen train stops passed as he harassed, groped and eventually raped the woman.
Superintendent, Timothy Bernhardt of the Upper Darby Police Department said officers were called to the 69th Street terminal around 10 p.m. Wednesday after the assault on the westbound train on the Market-Frankford Line.
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, Bernhardt said.
SEPTA police waiting at the next stop found the woman and arrested a man. The woman was taken to a hospital.
Bernhardt called the victim an “unbelievably strong woman” who provided police with a lot of information. She did not know her attacker, he said.
“She’s on the mend,” Bernhardt said. “Hopefully she will get through this.”
The entire episode was captured on surveillance video that showed other people on the train at the time, Bernhardt said.
“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.
Fiston Ngoy, has been charged with rape, aggravated indecent assault and related counts, according to Delaware County court records. Bernhardt said he is known to both SEPTA and Upper Darby police.
Court documents don’t list a defense attorney, and a listed number for him couldn’t be found Saturday.
SEPTA issued a statement calling it a “horrendous criminal act” and urging anyone witnessing such a thing to report it to authorities.
“There were other people on the train who witnessed this horrific act, and it may have been stopped sooner if a rider called 911,” the authority said.
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Commuters who use the train were shocked to hear about the incident. Shane Brown told CBS Philadelphia, “they need more security, they really do. They really need a lot of security because it’s getting bad out here. You can’t even get on the bus.”