Fiston Ngoy: Security clip shows victim repeatedly pushed rapist away as he groped
PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA: On a SEPTA (Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority) train car near Philadelphia, none of the several passengers aboard called 911 while a woman was sexually assaulted, as per surveillance video. 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.
The horrific incident occurred on October 13. Fiston Ngoy, 35, sat down next to a woman at 10 pm on a train that was traveling westbound on the Market-Frankford Line toward the 69th Street Transportation Center. The victim later told officers she had been drinking and accidentally boarded the wrong train at the Frankford Transportation Center.
Ngoy reportedly “attempted to touch her a few times.” Andrew Busch, a spokesman for SEPTA, said the woman pushed back and tried to stop Ngoy from touching her, adding, “then, unfortunately, he proceeded to rip her clothes off.” The assault lasted about eight minutes, during which, no passengers in the train car intervened.
Security video is said to show her repeatedly pushing him away as he groped her breasts. “Throughout this time, the victim is obviously struggling with keeping him off of her,” investigators wrote in an affidavit.
Ngoy told police that he recognized the woman on the train and approached her to start a conversation and that their encounter was consensual. The victim told the police that his account was completely false. Ngoy was charged with rape, sexual assault, and aggravated indecent assault without consent, among other crimes. Authorities said he was homeless and was not armed during the attack. He was being held at the Delaware County Jail in lieu of $180,000 bail and did not have a lawyer as of the afternoon of Sunday, October 17.
“I’m appalled by those who did nothing to help this woman,” Timothy Bernhardt, the superintendent of the Upper Darby Township Police Department, said on Sunday. “Anybody that was on that train has to look in the mirror and ask why they didn’t intervene or why they didn’t do something.” The surveillance footage, Bernhardt said, made it clear that passengers had an opportunity to intervene, he said.
“What this woman endured at the hands of this guy, what she’s been able to provide for us, it’s been unbelievable,” Bernhardt said, adding that bystanders on the train who failed to intervene could be criminally charged if they recorded the attack. It would be up to the Delaware County district attorney’s office to make such a decision after the police finish their investigation and submit their findings.
Bernhardt said it was “disturbing” to know people saw the attack and did nothing to help. “I have no words for it,” he said. “I just can’t imagine seeing what you were seeing through your own eyes.” Transit Police Chief Thomas Nestel said, “We want everyone to be angry, disgusted, and to join us in being resolute in keeping our system safe.” Nestel added, “I can tell you that people were holding their phone up in the direction of this woman being attacked.”
Ngoy reportedly came to the US legally from Congo in 2012 but his visa expired when he ceased to be a student in 2015. In 2017 he was sentenced to 120 days in jail and nine months in probation after pleading guilty to a sex charge in Washington, DC. He reportedly was put in an immigration detention center in 2018, but the following year his deportation was halted after a judge ruled his misdemeanor sex offense was not a "serious crime".