The Market-Frankford train in Philadelphia's public transit system called SEPTA.
  • A woman was raped on a train near Philadelphia on Wednesday night, police said.
  • Police said bystanders on the train did not intervene, The Washington Post reported.
  • A female SEPTA employee called police after she got on the train and noticed something wasn't right.
  • For more stories visit Business Insider.

A woman was raped by a stranger on a train near Philadelphia on Wednesday night as other passengers watched and did nothing, police say.

Surveillance footage showed a man boarded a Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority train shortly after a woman did and sat next to her, Upper Darby Township Police Department Superintendent Timothy Bernhardt told The Washington Post.

Bernhardt said the interaction "gradually" became aggressive.

"He sat next to her for a conversation," Bernhardt said, adding that the man eventually began ripping her clothes off. "And then he just completely overpowered the woman and forcibly raped her."

Police were called shortly after 10 p.m. on Wednesday night after the assault took place on the westbound train on the Market-Frankford Line, The Associated Press reported.

Andrew Busch, a spokesperson for SEPTA, told The Post the assault was reported by a female SEPTA employee after the other riders failed to call 911 or intervene. He said the assault lasted eight minutes.

"If somebody who witnessed this had called 911, it's possible that we would have been able to intervene even sooner," Busch said. "Because this had apparently started before the employee who was on board noticed what was going on."

The SEPTA employee called the police after she noticed "something wasn't right" about the woman on the train, according to AP. Police were waiting at the next stop and arrested the suspect, who has been identified by police as 35-year-old Fiston Ngoy.

According to court records, Ngoy was charged with rape, sexual assault, and aggravated indecent assault without consent.

Authorities said Ngoy was homeless and unarmed, according to The New York Times. He is being held in Delaware County Jail.

Bernhardt said the woman was taken to the hospital and described her as an "unbelievably strong woman," according to The Post.

"I can't say enough about her, how she was able to identify her attacker, tell us what happened. Now she's working … to get through this," he said.

Bernhardt also said there were reports that some passengers recorded the rape on their phones, but police have not been able to confirm that. He told The Times those who failed intervene could be criminally charged if they recorded the attack.

While surveillance footage of the incident had no audio, Bernhardt said footage reviewed still showed that passengers still had the opportunity to intervene.

He told The Post he was appalled by the lack of intervention.

"I don't know where we are in society that people can't help other people out in a time of need," he said. "If you see something horrendous like this horrible incident, you have to do something, you have to intervene. I think that it starts here when we have to definitely go back to some decency, where we help each other out and we look out for each other."

SEPTA did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

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