Police: Bystanders saw but didn’t stop assault
Police arrested a man on a commuter train a week ago just outside Philadelphia and charged him with rape. According to an arrest affidavit, Fiston Ngoy, 35, sat beside a woman on the train and harassed her for more than 40 minutes. At a Monday news conference, police said surveillance video showed Ngoy groped and raped the woman while other passengers held phones pointed in the woman’s direction. No 911 calls came from witnesses in Philadelphia. Police responded within three minutes of a transit employee’s call and pulled Ngoy off after he had allegedly been harassing the woman for more than 24 train stops. Fox News reported Tuesday, citing court documents, that Ngoy is a Congolese immigrant who overstayed his student visa and had a criminal record. The U.S. put him in immigration detention in 2018 but released him the following year.
Why didn’t someone say something? Sexual violence experts say it is rare but concerning that groups in public did not intervene. The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority reminded passengers about emergency buttons on every train car and urged people to call 911 for any suspicious activity. The transit police chief said commuters should be “angry and disgusted” and “resolute about making the system safer.” Authorities are looking for any video footage of the encounter from witnesses. A passenger who filmed but did not report could face charges from the district attorney’s office.
Dig deeper: From the WORLD archives, read D.C. Innes’ column about cruel public crimes.
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