On Thursday, the prosecutor in charge of the investigation stated that the story that passengers on a train in suburban Philadelphia last week witnessed a guy raping a lady and “filmed it for his own enjoyment instead of notifying the police” was incorrect.
Prosecutor Casts Doubt on Account of Train Passengers Not Intervening in Rape
During a press conference on October 13, Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer said that the other passengers on the train likely did not observe the entire 40-minute interaction or understand what they were seeing.
According to Stollsteimer, “people get off and on at every stop.” They won’t necessarily suspect a rape if they log on and see individuals chatting.
After days of authorities saying multiple passengers were present for the assault, with some appearing to hold their phones in the direction of the attack as police allege 35-year-old Fiston Ngoy raped the woman in her train seat, Stollsteimer recounted the surveillance footage and pleaded with witnesses.
While passengers may not have realised the severity of the situation, police and Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority officials were originally surprised that no one had called 911 or reported the attack.
On the weekend, Upper Darby Police Superintendent Timothy Bernhardt told reporters that, in his judgement, some of the passengers “should have done something.”
“the idea that there is a group of individuals callously filming and didn’t act, is simply not true,” Stollsteimer said Thursday. He also said that anybody who saw the attack might talk freely about it without worrying about legal repercussions.
On Wednesday, he stated that a witness to a crime in Pennsylvania could not be prosecuted under state law.
A Request for the Security Footage has been Denied by SEPTA.
Stollsteimer said surveillance footage shows two people filming the attack with their phones held in the direction of the attacker. According to him, one of them gave video evidence to police.
Due to the ongoing criminal investigation, SEPTA has declined The Associated Press’ requests to release security footage of the incident on the Market-Frankford line.
According to the affidavit filed by police after Ngoy’s arrest, he boarded the train after the woman, sat down right next to her, and then spent the next nearly 40 minutes trying to touch and grope her. Surveillance footage, according to investigators, also shows the lady repeatedly pushing Ngoy away.
Ngoy is being jailed on $180,000 bond for rape and several related offences. He told police he had seen the victim before and that the sexual interaction was consensual. Upon questioning at the hospital, the woman indicated she had never met Ngoy and had not given him permission to touch her.
Because it is so early in the case, the public defender who has been assigned to represent Ngoy has declined to comment. This Monday, there will be a hearing.
This incident was reported by a SEPTA worker who was off duty at the time.
According to SEPTA authority spokesman Andrew Busch on Wednesday, SEPTA police chief Thomas J. Nestel III estimated that roughly 10 passengers were present during the rape, which began at 9:52 p.m. and ended when SEPTA police pulled Ngoy off of the victim at around 10 p.m.
Among those 10 people was a SEPTA worker who wasn’t on duty at the time. According to Busch, the SEPTA worker called the police after he noticed something was off during their conversation. He said the worker’s quick thinking and action probably stopped Ngoy from escaping arrest by letting him off the train.
SEPTA cops at the 69th Street terminal came to the train car and stopped it three minutes after the employee reported the assault.
At the Thursday news conference, it was also revealed that an arrest had been made in connection with a different case of sexual assault at the 69th Street terminal.
Bernhardt stated a female suspect asked him how to travel to the opposite direction’s station after missing her stop. Bernhardt claimed he touched the woman and forced her into a private region as he displayed it to her.
When a bystander on the station overheard her cries for assistance, they quickly stepped in to help. Eventually, SEPTA police intervened and brought the attacker into custody.