Commuters who may have filmed and photographed a woman being raped while on board a suburban Philadelphia train line last week could face charges for not reporting the incident. Authorities conducting the investigation are reviewing evidence to determine if the passengers who witnessed the alleged assault could have helped intervene but chose to do nothing.

According to Fox News, police officers who reviewed the footage from the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) have been critical of the train riders saying they do not believe that a single passenger had called 911 but were able to film the incident. 

During a news conference on Monday, Thomas J. Nestel III, SEPTA police chief, said, “I can tell you that people were holding their phone up in the direction of this woman being attacked."

Police said that witnesses who recorded the attack but failed to intervene could possibly face charges, should the Delaware County District Attorney’s office decide to act on this. 

The assault took place last Wednesday at around 10 pm on the westbound train on the Market-Frankford Line. A SEPTA employee working within the vicinity of the train as it went past called the police after noticing “something wasn’t right” with a woman who was onboard the train. 

SEPTA police apprehended 35-year-old Fiston Ngoy, an individual known to both Upper Darby police and SEPTA as a homeless person. He was charged with rape and aggravated indecent assault. Ngoy could be seen in the footage as he sat next to the victim trying to strike up a conversation.

The suspect repeatedly tried to touch her as the victim kept pushing him away. He then just completely overpowered the woman and ripped her clothes off. Footage time stamps showed the assault lasted about eight minutes 

Police said the victim is on the mend, after reportedly going into shock and losing consciousness during the assault. "It's disturbing that there were definitely people on the El and no one did anything to intervene or help this woman," Upper Darby Police Superintendent Timothy Bernhardt said. He declined to say the exact number of witnesses on the train but added there were enough that “collectively” could have gotten together to do something and help.

Investigators are still working on footages to determine the number of witnesses. “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.” Bernhardt told the New York Times.

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