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20th Oct 2021

Passengers who allegedly filmed rape of woman on train unlikely to be charged

Charlie Herbert

A number of passengers didn’t intervene whilst a woman was the victim of a 40-minute assault on a train

Passengers on a Pennsylvania train that watched and reportedly filmed the assault of a woman without intervening are unlikely to face criminal charges.

The attack took place at approximately 11pm on Wednesday October 13 while the woman was travelling on a Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (Septa) along the southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority Market-Frankford line.

For 40-minutes, the woman was harassed, groped and eventually raped by Fiston Ngoy, a 35-year-old man who is thought to be homeless.

Surveillance footage from the train caught the attack and has helped authorities charge Ngoy with rape and sexual assault.

But the footage also showed several passengers failing to intervene. On Monday (October 18), Septa police chief Thomas J Nestel said that some passengers were “holding their phone up in the direction” of the assault.

There were reportedly fewer than a dozen passengers present at the time of the attack but none called 911 or tried to stop it.

It was only once an employee for the train company witnessed the attack and called the police that officers arrived at the scene and pulled Ngoy off the woman.

Timothy Bernhardt, superintendent of the Upper Darby Police Department, had suggested that bystanders who failed to intervene could face criminal charges.

But according to the New York Times, he said that it would be “very difficult to bring charges against those” who saw the attack and didn’t help.

The woman was taken to hospital after the assault and treated for her injuries.

An officer told NBC Philadelphia that he had spoken to the woman on Friday (October 15) and that she was doing okay after being taken to hospital to be treated for her injuries following the assault.

Ngoy has since been arrested and faces charges of rape and assault. He currently remains in custody on $180,000 (£130,000) bail and will appear before the court on Monday October 25.

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