Passengers on board a metro Philadelphia train filmed a man raping a stranger for over 30 minutes, cops said, as its revealed that the alleged culprit has been living in the U.S. illegally since 2015.
Fiston Ngoy, 35, was arrested and charged in the horrifying attack last Wednesday on board a Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) train near the suburb of Upper Darby.
Police say that as many as 10 bystanders on the train did nothing but pull out their phones to film as Ngoy sexually assaulted the stranger shortly after 9.15pm through 9.52pm – when an off-duty transit worker eventually called 911.
Whether the bystanders would be penalized for recording and not intervening has caused friction between local officials after Upper Darby Police Superintendent Timothy Bernhardt said they could face criminal charges.
However, a spokesperson for the Delaware County District Attorney’s office told DailyMail.com that the D.A. has no intention of prosecuting witnesses of the crime who could help bring the perpetrator to justice.
Fiston Ngoy, 35, was present in the US illegally when he was charged with raping a woman on a Philadelphia train
SEPTA Transit Police Chief Thomas Nestel III, seen through window at left, stands by during a news conference regarding the horrifying sex attack on a SEPTA train last week
Ngoy sat down next to the woman about a minute after he boarded the train car, shortly after 9.15pm, investigators wrote in an affidavit of probable cause for his arrest, obtained by The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Surveillance video, which police have not released, shows him forcing himself on her as she pushed him away multiple times for over 30 minutes, until he is seen ripping off her pants around 9.52pm.
Upper Darby Police Superintendent Timothy Bernhardt said that while there were multiple people on the train, it was ultimately an off-duty SEPTA employee who made the call to 911, which allowed officers to arrest Ngoy.
Bernhardt said officers responded within three minutes following the lone 911 call, which came when the SEPTA employee saw Ngoy forcefully pulling off the victim’s clothes.
Police would not disclose exactly how many witnesses were there and how many filmed the scene, but it the train made 27 stops on SEPTA’s busiest route in the time Ngoy assaulted the woman.
Bernhardt added that anyone who recorded the assault could face criminal charges, which would be determined by the Delaware County district attorney’s office. He did not elaborate what the charges might be, however.
‘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 and who would allow something like that to take place. So it’s troubling.’
Meanwhile, a new report revealed that Ngoy, who gave his address as Philadelphia-based homeless shelter the Broad Street Ministry, is a Congolese national present in the US illegally.
He entered the US on a student visa in 2012, but remained after the visa was terminated in 2015 and was protected from deportation by the immigration system despite multiple convictions as recent as this May.
Court records show that Ngoy had multiple arrests dating back to 2015 and two misdemeanor convictions, one for controlled substances and one for sexual abuse.
He pleaded guilty to the sex charge in 2017 in Washington DC and was sentenced to 120 days in jail, and was then placed in immigration detention in January 2018.
However, Ngoy was never deported, because an immigration judge granted him a ‘withholding of removal’ in March 2019, after an appeals board found that his sex crime was not a ‘serious crime’ that made him eligible for removal.
Since then, Ngoy, has been free and required only to check in periodically with Immigration and Customs Enforcement under an order of supervision.
Transit officials speak at the 69th Street Transportation Center, Monday, Oct. 18, 2021, in Philadelphia, following a brutal rape on the El, as other riders watched, over the weekend
Nevertheless, he was arrested twice more in the past year, both for disorderly conduct, once in January 2020 and again just this May.
Regarding last Wednesday’s incident, Ngoy told police that he recognized the woman and went over to speak to her, according to the affidavit.
However, surveillance video and the victim’s account say otherwise. The footage also shows several bystanders standing idle or filming the attack on their cell phones.
‘As many as 10 people actually saw some part of the attack on this rider,’ SEPTA Transit Police Chief Thomas Nestel III said Tuesday on Philadelphia radio station WPHT.
Describing police review of surveillance video, Nestel said, ‘We were watching to see if somebody put a phone up to their ear indicating they might be calling 911. Instead, what we saw was people holding their phone up as if they were recording or taking pictures.’
‘It may have been stopped sooner if a rider called 911,’ SEPTA spokesman John Golden said in a statement.
But she said that she had never seen Ngoy before he sat next to her, and then attacked her.
The alleged victim told police she remembered getting on the train and then nothing until the cops pulled her assailant off her. She said she had had several beers after work, and got on the wrong train when Ngoy approached her.
She repeatedly pushed Ngoy away, as he attempted to touch her and at one point grabbed her breast, the video showed.
‘Throughout this time, the victim is obviously struggling with keeping him off of her,’ investigators wrote in the affidavit.
‘It’s disturbing that there were definitely people on the L, and no one intervened or did anything to help this woman out,’ Bernhardt said in an interview with NBC 10.
Other passengers reacted by getting out their smartphones and pointing them at the pair, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
‘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.’
Upper Darby Police Superintendent Timothy Bernhardt said it was disturbing that no passengers called 911 as they witnessed the victim being raped
The assault took place in Northeast Philadelphia aboard a SEPTA train
The victim was transported to a nearby hospital, where she was treated for her injuries following the assault.
The Upper Darby Police Department is reviewing the footage of the attack to determine who was there in order to interview them as witnesses.
Nestel urged the public to help his officers by reporting suspicious behavior when they see it. ‘Riders don’t always know when to contact the police,’ he said. ‘I’m here to tell you that when you see inappropriate behavior, behavior you wouldn’t want your 10-year-old to see, call 911.’
SEPTA issued a statement following the assault, calling it a ‘horrific act.’
‘The assault was observed by a SEPTA employee, who called 911, enabling SEPTA officers to respond immediately and apprehend the suspect in the act,’ said SEPTA spokesman Andrew Busch.
‘There were other people on the train who witnessed this horrific act, and it may have been stopped sooner if a rider called 911.
‘SEPTA urges anyone who observes a crime being committed or any dangerous situation occurring to report it. Anyone witnessing an emergency should immediately call 911.’
Ngoy was charged with rape and assault.
He is currently being held at the Delaware County Prison and his bail is set at $180,000, according to court records, which do not show that he has hired an attorney or requested a public defender.
His next court appearance is a preliminary hearing on October 25 at 9am.