Pennsylvania prosecutor says report of commuters recording rape on train ‘simply not true’

·3 min read

A more accurate version of the events on a Philadelphia subway train has come to light

A Pennsylvania prosecutor has shot down reports that commuters on a Philadelphia subway train did nothing to stop a woman from being raped and instead filmed the attack on their cell phones.

theGRIO previously reported that the attack happened last Wednesday night on the SEPTA train, and, according to Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority Police Chief Thomas J. Nestel III, there were other riders on the train, but “there were very few notifications to the police.”

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SEPTA (Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority) trains at Frankford terminal in Philadelphia. (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)

No calls were made to 911. Authorities are researching if there were any calls made to police in Delaware County, where the last two SEPTA train stops on the Market-Frankford line are located. In the meantime, Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer is speaking out about the version of events being reported, NBC News reports.

“There is a narrative out there people sat on the El train and watched this transpire and took videos of it for their own gratification,” Stollsteimer said.

“That is simply not true. It did not happen. We have the security video from SEPTA that shows that was not the true narrative,” he added.

Stollsteimer blames SEPTA for feeding the public inaccurate information about the assault.

“I think it really came from SEPTA officials,” Stollsteimer told reporters. “I saw the video where they talked about ‘these people,’ acting like there was a group of people just callously recording this incident.”

A 35-year-old suspect, Fiston Ngoy, has been arrested on rape and assault charges and is being held on a $180K bond. His last known address was a homeless shelter. According to Nestel, Ngoy and the victim got on the SEPTA train at the same stop.

Reportedly, Ngoy harassed the woman for 40 minutes during the train ride before actually pulling down her pants and assaulting her. An officer at a station witnessed “what he believed was a criminal act occurring, ripped that man off of her and pulled him out onto the platform,” according to Nestel.

That was 27 train stops later. The attack lasted for eight minutes, with no passengers intervening.

“What we want everyone to be is angry, disgusted, and join us in being resolute to continue to make the system safe,” Nestel said in the news conference last week. “We need help from the public to notify us when they see incidents that are occurring that are unusual. We want people to be our partners and to watch out for other riders.”

But Stollsteimer believes many riders entered and exited the train car unaware that a crime was occurring.

“It was not very crowded at all, sparsely crowded, and it’s moving,” said Stollsteimer. “So this is an incident that’s happening over time. So people are getting in and out of the car. They may not all have been aware at any time of what would happen previously.”

This article contains additional reporting from Biba Adams

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