Witnesses ‘are encouraged to come forward to share information with law enforcement’
The Philadelphia straphangers who watched and filmed a woman being raped on a subway train are unlikely to face charges, the city’s district attorney said.
CCTV captured at least 10 passengers observing the Oct. 13 sex attack on a woman who was touched and groped over a 40-minute rail trip even as she tried to fight the man off.
The accused is 35-year-old Fiston Ngoy, an illegal Congolese immigrant whose student visa expired in 2015.
Even as he allegedly pulled her pants down and raped the victim for almost 10 minutes, the bystanders did nothing to help. Transit police arrested the suspect in the midst of the alleged crime.
Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer released a statement explaining that prosecuting the alleged perpetrator would be the focus of his office’s efforts.
“In accordance with my oath and duty, I will focus the efforts of my office on holding the perpetrator accountable. While I share the public’s outrage that such a heinous crime could occur on a public SEPTA train, I want to reiterate that Pennsylvania law does not allow for the prosecution of a passenger who may have witnessed a crime,” Stollsteimer said.
“Accordingly, any passenger who believes he or she may have observed the Oct. 13 event on the SEPTA train should not fear prosecution. You are encouraged to come forward to share information with law enforcement.”
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Cops have been tight-lipped on the attack and have held back video footage.
But in an interview Tuesday with WPHT, SEPTA Police Chief Thomas J. Nestel III said “as many as 10 people” may have seen some part of the attack.
Ngoy is charged with rape and related sexual assault offences. He has a long criminal history of arrests and convictions under at least three names in Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia.
In D.C., Ngoy pleaded guilty to misdemeanour sexual abuse in November 2017 under the name Jack Falcon, after police said he groped two women on the street near the homeless shelter where he was staying.