Philadelphia, PA – A homeless man raped a woman for eight minutes on a train in Philadelphia while the other riders watched and did nothing to help.
The incident began at about 10 p.m. on Oct. 13 after the female victim boarded a Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) train to go home, The New York Times reported.
Police said 35-year-old Fiston Ngoy sat down next to the female passenger and began bothering her, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
Police said Ngoy tried to touch the woman a few times but the woman pushed back and tried to stop him.
Then the man took off his pants and ripped the woman’s clothes off and raped her while the train car full of people sat and watched and did nothing, The New York Times reported.
Police said that other passengers had their phones in their hands pointed at the man as he raped the woman but none of them called 911.
“I can tell you that people were holding their phone up in the direction of this woman being attacked,” SEPTA Police Chief Thomas Nestel III told The New York Times.
It was an off-duty SEPTA employee who ultimately called police, 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,” SEPTA spokesman Andrew Busch said.
Chief Nestel said police officers arrived on the train six minutes after the 911 call and caught Ngoy still in the act of raping the woman, the New York Post reported.
He was arrested.
The arrest affidavit for Ngoy said SEPTA surveillance footage corroborated the victim’s account of the incident.
Authorities were disgusted by the lack of caring exhibited by the other passengers on the train, the New York Post reported.
“We want everyone to be angry, disgusted and to join us in being resolute in keeping our system safe,” Chief Nestel said. “We need the public to notify us when they see something that seems to be unusual.”
Officials said the attack might have been stopped sooner if one of the other passengers had called 911.
“I’m appalled by those who did nothing to help this woman,” Upper Darby Township Police Superintendent Timothy Bernhardt told The New York Times. “Anybody that was on that train has to look in the mirror and ask why they didn’t intervene or why they didn’t do something.”
“It’s disturbing,” Superintendent Bernhardt told NBC News. “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.”
Ngoy has been charged with rape, sexual assault, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, and aggravated indecent assault, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
He was being held in the Delaware County Jail in lieu of a $180,000 bond.
Superintendent Bernhardt said it would be very difficult to charge the bystanders with anything for not intervening because Pennsylvania does not have a good Samaritan law, The New York Times reported.