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Passengers failed to intervene as woman was raped on train: authorities

Officials said that passengers failed to intervene when a woman was raped on a train close to Philadelphia, The New York Times reported.

Late Wednesday, a woman was approached by a man on a train who attempted to touch her several times. Despite the woman's attempts to stop the man from inappropriately touching her, he ultimately took off her clothes and raped her, officials said. 

The incident, which took place around 10 p.m., happened on a Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) train on the Market-Frankford Line, a spokesperson for SEPTA told the Times.

SEPTA called the incident "a horrendous criminal act" in a statement, noting that one of its employees contacted police about the rape immediately.

"The assault was observed by a SEPTA employee, who called 911, enabling SEPTA officers to respond immediately and apprehend the suspect in the act," the transit authority said in a statement.

"There were other people on the train who witnessed this horrific act, and it may have been stopped sooner if a rider called 911," SEPTA added.

SEPTA noted that Upper Darby Township Police were leading the investigation into the incident and that SEPTA Transit Police were assisting those efforts.

While the superintendent of the Upper Darby Township Police Department, Timothy Bernhardt, could not specify an exact number of passengers on the SEPTA train, he claimed that enough people were present who could have worked together to intervene in the incident, per the Times. 

"I'm appalled by those who did nothing to help this woman," Bernhardt told the newspaper. "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."

Officials have identified the suspect as 35-year-old Fiston Ngoy, who faces multiple charges, including aggravated indecent assault without consent, rape and sexual assault, the newspaper noted, citing court documents. Officials said he is homeless, currently being held in jail and, as of Sunday afternoon, did not have a lawyer representing him. 

The Hill has reached out to Upper Darby Township Police Department for comment.

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