Authorities in Philadelphia said passengers who witnessed a woman being raped on a train by a stranger “should have done something” to help the victim instead of turning a blind eye to the assault.
According to the Associated Press, Upper Darby Police Department superintendent Timothy Bernhardt said a Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority employee who sensed “something wasn’t right” with the victim after he saw what was happening in the moving train called the police to make a report.
Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) police managed to locate the woman at a stop in the station and apprehended the man. The victim was subsequently transported to the hospital for medical attention.
Bernhardt described the victim as an “unbelievably strong woman” who assisted investigators with information on the incident. He also said the male suspect and the victim did not know each other.
“She’s on the mend,” Bernhardt added. “Hopefully she will get through this.”
Bernhardt said surveillance video that captured the whole incident showed there were other riders on the train when the woman was being assaulted, the Associated Press reported. “There was a lot of people, in my opinion, that should have intervened; somebody should have done something,” he said. “It speaks to where we are in society; I mean, who would allow something like that to take place? So it’s troubling.”
The suspect, identified as 35-year-old Fiston Ngoy, has since been charged with rape, aggravated indecent assault and other related counts. In a statement, SEPTA said the assault was a “horrendous criminal act” and encouraged people to report such incidents anytime they see them.
“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 added.