An unknown woman was raped on a Pennsylvania train as passengers watched, and no one intervened or called for help.
The rape lasted about six minutes, and other passengers not only looked on but appeared to point their smartphones at the assault as it happened, police said Monday.
The only person to call 911 during the attack was an off-duty SEPTA employee, whose quick thinking allowed Transit Police officers to arrive three minutes later, interrupt the assault, and arrest the alleged rapist.
35-year-old man Fiston Ngoy, has been charged with rape, aggravated indecent assault and related counts, according to Delaware County court records. Bernhardt said he is known to both SEPTA and Upper Darby police.
Superintendent Timothy Bernhardt of the Upper Darby Police Department said officers were called to the 69th Street terminal around 10 p.m. Wednesday after the assault on the westbound train on the Market-Frankford Line.
An employee of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority who was in the vicinity as the train went past called police to report that “something wasn’t right” with a woman aboard the train, Bernhardt said.
SEPTA police waiting at the next stop found the woman and arrested a man.
The entire episode was captured on surveillance video that showed other people on the train at the time, Bernhardt said.
“There was a lot of people, in my opinion, that should have intervened; somebody should have done something,” Bernhardt said. “It speaks to where we are in society; I mean, who would allow something like that to take place? So it’s troubling.”
“There were other people on the train who witnessed this horrific act, and it may have been stopped sooner if a rider called 911,” the authority said.