There were less than a dozen people present, “but sufficient to intervene,” who recorded the incident but did not assist the woman, officials said.
While Fistor Ngoy, 35, reportedly continued to grope, harass and assault the woman, at least 24 train stops passed on the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (Septa) Market-Frankford line, the police chief said. of the transit agency.
Not a single witness to the attack bothered to call 911 and request an intervention as the man, who was reportedly homeless, continued to assault the woman, police officials said.
The man and woman were checked into the train at the same stop the night of the attack which took place around 11 p.m. on October 13. The man was first seen sitting next to the woman and trying to have a conversation with her, but gradually became aggressive and began to molest her.
A Septa employee who saw the attack called 911 and authorities responded within three minutes.
Officers removed the man from the woman as the train reached its final stop, authorities said.
The incident was captured by Septa’s surveillance cameras. An investigation is underway to find out whether passers-by recorded the assault.
“I can tell you that people were holding their phones in the direction of this attacked woman,” said Thomas J Nestel III, police chief of Septa.
He added: “What we want is for everyone to be angry and disgusted and determined to make the system safer. “
The accused man was arrested and charged with rape and assault, and remains in custody on bail of £ 130,678 (US $ 180,000). He is due in court next week, October 25.
According to the arrest affidavit, the woman appears to have repulsed Mr. Ngoy on several occasions. The woman said her calls to leave were ignored, court documents show.
The accused’s police statement shows that the man claimed to know the victim but could not remember her name or who she was. He said the meeting was consensual.
The accused listed a homeless shelter as his last address.
Disappointed by the deafening silence of the witnesses, Septa issued a statement calling it a “horrific criminal act,” urging those who witness such incidents to report it to authorities by dialing 911, pressing a button. emergency in each train or using emergency safety apps. by the authorities.
“There were other people on the train who witnessed this horrific act, and he may have been arrested sooner if a passenger called 911,” the Septa statement read.
The woman was taken to hospital and treated for her injuries after the assault.