Ten passengers were said to have witnessed a rape on the Philadelphia metro train, some of whom may have recorded the course of the event. The police were called to the scene only by an off-duty subway employee. The 35-year-old was arrested.
Thomas Nestel III, chief of the security police of the Southeast Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), which provides public transportation in Philadelphia, reported that at around 9 p.m. on the train on October 13, one of the passengers had been raped.
“As many as ten people knew part of the attack on this woman,” Nestel said. Officers browsing the surveillance footage looked to see if any of them showed someone holding the phone to their ear to call the 911 emergency number. “Instead, we saw people holding their phones as if they were recording the incident or taking photos,” he added.
Rape on the subway train. The witnesses did not notify the police
The entire event lasted approximately 40 minutes. “The attack could be interrupted if a traveler called 911,” SEPTA spokesman John Golden said in a statement. The video from the train car showed that the woman tried to repel the attacker multiple times.
Services notified an off-duty SEPTA employee. After a while, the police intervened, which stopped the attack and arrested the suspect. Women’s rights activists describe the unresponsiveness of the witnesses to the incident as “despicable and disturbing”.
“My greatest fear is that, on the one hand, people don’t care, and on the other, they might think that a woman might have consented to sexual activity,” said Philadelphia Women’s Rights Project director Carol Tracy.
Witnesses to the incident can avoid punishment
The attacked woman is in the hospital and cooperates with the police.
Fiston Ngoy, 35, is charged with rape, sexual assault and other crimes, local media reported. A man who claims to be homeless will face trial on October 25.
The accused claims that the woman consented to the sexual intercourse, but the victim of the attack denies it, the Reuters agency reported, citing local media.
According to investigators, people who witnessed the incident will probably not be prosecuted. It is unclear how many other passengers were in the car when the incident occurred. Investigators check whether any of the witnesses recorded the attack.
Main photo source: ENEX