Fiston Ngoy, 35, was present in the US illegally when he was charged with raping a woman on a Philadelphia train
The man accused of raping a stranger on a metro Philadelphia train full of bystanders who stood by and watched is a Congolese national present in the US illegally, according to a new report.
Fiston Ngoy, 35, was arrested and charged in the horrifying attack on Wednesday on board a Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) train near the suburb of Upper Darby.
Ngoy entered the US on a student visa in 2012, but remained after the visa was terminated in 2015, and was protected from deportation by the immigration system despite multiple convictions, according to Fox News.
Court records show that Ngoy had multiple arrests and two misdemeanor convictions, one for controlled substances and one for sexual abuse.
He pleaded guilty to the sex charge in 2017 in Washington DC and was sentenced to 120 days in jail, and was then placed in immigration detention in January 2018.
However, Ngoy was never deported, because an immigration judge granted him a ‘withholding of removal’ in March 2019, after an appeals board found that his sex crime was not a ‘serious crime’ that made him eligible for removal.
SEPTA Transit Police Chief Thomas Nestel III, seen through window at left, stands by during a news conference regarding the horrifying sex attack on a SEPTA train last week
Since then, Ngoy has been free and required only to check in periodically with Immigration and Customs Enforcement under an order of supervision.
Police say that as many as 10 bystanders on the train did nothing but pull out their phones to film as Ngoy sexually assaulted a stranger.
The woman was raped shortly after 9pm on October 13, SEPTA Transit Police Chief Thomas Nestel III said on Tuesday.
‘As many as 10 people actually saw some part of the attack on this rider,’ Nestel said on Philadelphia radio station WPHT.
Describing police review of surveillance video, Nestel said, ‘We were watching to see if somebody put a phone up to their ear indicating they might be calling 911. Instead, what we saw was people holding their phone up as if they were recording or taking pictures.’
‘It may have been stopped sooner if a rider called 911,’ SEPTA spokesman John Golden said in a statement, referring to the U.S. phone number for emergency services.
Ngoy, who gave his address as a homeless shelter in Philadelphia, told police that he recognized the woman and went over to speak to her, according to the affidavit of probable cause for his arrest, obtained by The Philadelphia Inquirer.
But she said that she had never seen Ngoy before he sat next to her, and then attacked her.
Transit officials speak at the 69th Street Transportation Center, Monday, Oct. 18, 2021, in Philadelphia, following a brutal rape on the El, as other riders watched, over the weekend
The alleged victim told police she remembered getting on the train and then nothing until the cops pulled her assailant off her. She said she had had several beers after work, and got on the wrong train when Ngoy approached her.
She repeatedly pushed Ngoy away, as he attempted to touch her and at one point grabbed her breast, the video showed.
‘Throughout this time, the victim is obviously struggling with keeping him off of her,’ investigators wrote in the affidavit.
Upper Darby Police Superintendent Timothy Bernhardt said that while there were other people on the train, it was ultimately a SEPTA employee who made the call to 911, which allowed officers to arrest Ngoy on the spot.
‘It’s disturbing that there were definitely people on the L, and no one intervened or did anything to help this woman out,’ Bernhardt told NBC 10.
Other passengers reacted by getting out their smartphones and pointing them at the pair, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
‘I have no words for it. I just can’t imagine seeing what you were seeing through your own eyes and seeing what this woman was going through that no one would step in and help her.’
Upper Darby Police Superintendent Timothy Bernhardt said it was disturbing that no passengers called 911 as they witnessed the victim being raped
The assault took place in Northeast Philadelphia aboard a SEPTA train
The victim was transported to a nearby hospital, where she was treated for her injuries following the assault.
The Upper Darby Police Department is reviewing the footage of the attack to determine who was there in order to interview them as witnesses.
SEPTA issued a statement following the assault, calling it a ‘horrific act.’
‘The assault was observed by a SEPTA employee, who called 911, enabling SEPTA officers to respond immediately and apprehend the suspect in the act,’ said SEPTA spokesman Andrew Busch.
‘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 urges anyone who observes a crime being committed or any dangerous situation occurring to report it. Anyone witnessing an emergency should immediately call 911.’
Ngoy was charged with rape and assault.
He remains in jail unable to post bail, NBC 10 reports. It was unclear whether he had an attorney to speak on his behalf.