Charges Not Expected for Bystanders Who Witnessed Rape on Philadelphia Train, DA Office Says

Fiston Ngoy
UDPD

Authorities say they do not expect to charge passengers for failing to intervene when an illegal alien allegedly raped a woman on a suburban Philadelphia train in October.

“It’s still an open investigation, but there is no expectation at this time that we will charge passengers,” spokeswoman Margie McAboy with the Delaware County District Attorney’s office said, according to the Associated Press. 

The rape occurred on October 13 around 10:00 p.m. on a Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority (SEPTA) Market-Frankford line train, Breitbart News previously reported. An affidavit asserts that Fiston Ngoy, 35, groped and touched the victim during the 40-minute train ride as she attempted to stave him off, according to the Associated Press. 

Breitbart News previously reported that Ngoy, who is from the Republic of the Congo, “originally arrived in the U.S. on an F-1 student visa in 2012. By 2015, though, Ngoy’s visa was terminated and he began living as an illegal alien after failing to self-deport.”

Per the Associated Press: 

Investigators say Ngoy ripped the woman’s pants off and proceeded to rape her for somewhere between six and eight minutes before officers boarded the train and detained him.

Police declined to say how many passengers may have witnessed the assault, but have said it appeared that some held their phones up in the direction of the assault seemingly to film the attack. Police have also declined to say whether investigators have found any photos or videos of the attack posted online.

In the days after the attack, Superintendent of the Upper Darby Police Department Timothy Bernhardt said that surveillance footage showed passengers neither acted to stop the rape nor did they call 911, Breitbart News previously reported.

“Were they watching? I don’t know. Again, we’re still going through the video but there was a lot of people, in my opinion, that should’ve intervened,” Bernhardt told CBS Philadelphia at the time. “Somebody should’ve done something. It speaks to where we are in society.”

SEPTA spokesman Andrew Busch stated that a SEPTA employee boarded the train after the assault was in progress and called police, according to the AP.

“Without that call, the suspect might have been able to just walk off the train and we would still be looking for him,” Busch said.

Busch spoke regarding the bystanders Wednesday, per the Associated Press:

“Chief (Thomas) Nestel made his best estimate that 10 people were walking through, sitting or standing near where the attack was occurring at points throughout the assault,” Busch said. “Our hope is that people will realize when they see this type of activity, whether they fully understand it or not, that they will push the emergency call button or call the police. There really was no way to not see it even if they didn’t fully understand.

Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer told the Associated Press via email that authorities do not want witnesses to be in fear of prosecution but rather to come forward and help investigators.

“Pennsylvania law does not allow for the prosecution of a passenger who may have witnessed a crime,” he added. 

Jules Epstein, “a law professor and director of advocacy programs at Temple University Beasley School of Law,” reiterated Stollsteimer’s comments regarding the state’s law, the AP reports.

“Unless they have a legal duty to intervene, like a parent for their child, a person cannot be prosecuted for sitting back and doing nothing,” Epstein explained. 

“Doing nothing may be morally wrong, but in Pennsylvania, without that special duty relationship, it is not legally wrong,” said the law professor.

Ngoy was charged with rape and a slew of other sexual assault-related counts and was being held on $180,000 bail, court records show. 

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