Authorities in Pennsylvania are working to determine if passengers who witnessed an alleged rape on a suburban Philadelphia train line not only didn’t call 911 but may have filmed the incident.
“I can tell you that people were holding their phone up in the direction of this woman being attacked,” Thomas J. Nestel III, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority police chief, said at a news conference Monday.
Police said the attack occurred at about 10 p.m. last Wednesday on SEPTA’s Market-Frankford Line. Police were alerted by a train employee who spotted the woman and thought something was amiss. Police were waiting at the next strop and arrested the suspect, who was allegedly on top of the woman, and rushed her to the hospital.
Fiston Ngoy, 35, was charged with rape and other charges, Fox 29 reported, citing Delaware County court records. Investigators said in the affidavit that Ngoy sat down next to the woman about a minute after he boarded the train car, shortly after 9:15 p.m.
The video shows her pushing him away multiple times until he is seen ripping her pants down at about 9:52 p.m, police said. Ngoy allegedly told police the encounter was consensual but could not remember her name.
Police officials were critical of those on the train who failed to call 911.
Fox 29, citing an affidavit, reported that the victim was harassed by the suspect for about 40 minutes—and dozens of train stops– prior to the physical assault.
She even tried to push the suspect away, police said.
Authorities do not believe that a single passenger called 911. Police are investigating if some actually filmed the incident, which could bring charges.
The New York Times reported that police said that people who recorded the attack and failed to intervene could possibly be charged, but that would be up to the Delaware County District Attorney’s office to determine.
Police said the woman is on the mend and called her “unbelievably strong.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report