Fiston Ngoy, 35, was illegally in the US when he was accused of raping a woman on a train in Philadelphia
The man accused of raping a stranger on a Philadelphia subway crowded with bystanders standing and watching is a Congolese citizen illegally present in the US, according to a new report.
Fiston Ngoy, 35, was arrested and charged in Wednesday’s horrific attack aboard a Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) train near the Upper Darby suburb.
Ngoy entered the US on a student visa in 2012, but stayed there after the visa ended in 2015, and was protected from deportation by the immigration system despite multiple convictions, according to Fox News.
Court records show that Ngoy has had multiple arrests and two felony convictions, one for controlled substances and one for sexual abuse.
He pleaded guilty to the 2017 sexual assault charge in Washington DC and was sentenced to 120 days in prison, then placed in immigration detention in January 2018.
Ngoy was never deported, however, as an immigration judge granted him a “withholding from removal” in March 2019 after an appeals committee found that his sex offense was not a “serious crime” making him eligible for removal.
SEPTA Transit Police Chief Thomas Nestel III, seen through the left window, stands by during a press conference about the horrific sexual assault on a SEPTA train last week
Since then, Ngoy has been free and only required to periodically check in with Immigration and Customs Enforcement under a surveillance order.
Police say as many as 10 bystanders on the train did nothing but pull out their phones to film Ngoy sexually assaulting a stranger.
The woman was raped shortly after 9 p.m. on Oct. 13, SEPTA Transit Police Chief Thomas Nestel III said Tuesday.
“As many as 10 people saw part of the attack on this rider,” Nestel told WPHT radio station in Philadelphia.
Describing the police investigation of surveillance videos, Nestel said: “We were looking for someone to hold a phone to their ear to indicate that they might call 911. Instead, we saw people holding up their phones as if they were recording or taking pictures.’
“It might have stopped sooner if a driver had called 911,” SEPTA spokesman John Golden said in a statement, referring to the U.S. emergency phone number.
Ngoy, who gave his address as a homeless shelter in Philadelphia, told police he recognized the woman and went to talk to her, according to the affidavit of probable reason for his arrest obtained by The Philadelphia Inquirer.
But she said she had never seen Ngoy before he sat down next to her, and then attacked her.
Transit officials speak at the 69th Street Transportation Center, Monday, Oct. 18, 2021, in Philadelphia, after a brutal rape on the El, as other riders watched this weekend
The alleged victim told police she remembered getting on the train and then nothing until police pulled her attacker off. She said she had been drinking several beers after work and got on the wrong train when Ngoy approached her.
She repeatedly pushed Ngoy away as he tried to touch her and at one point grabbed her chest, the video showed.
“All the while, the victim is clearly having a hard time keeping him away from her,” the investigators wrote in the affidavit.
Upper Darby Police Superintendent Timothy Bernhardt said that although there were other people on the train, it was ultimately a SEPTA employee who called 911, which allowed officers to arrest Ngoy at the scene.
“It’s disturbing that there were definitely people on the L and no one intervened or did anything to help this woman,” Bernhardt told NBC 10.
Other passengers responded by grabbing their smartphones and pointing at the couple, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
‘I have no words for it. I just can’t imagine seeing what you saw with your own eyes and seeing what this woman was going through that no one would step in to help her.’
Upper Darby Police Superintendent Timothy Bernhardt said it was disturbing that no passengers called 911 because they witnessed the rape of the victim.
The attack took place in northeast Philadelphia aboard a SEPTA train
The victim was transported to a nearby hospital, where she was treated for her injuries after the assault.
Upper Darby Police are reviewing footage of the attack to determine who was there to question them as witnesses.
SEPTA issued a statement after the attack, calling it a “horrific act.”
“The assault was witnessed by a SEPTA employee, who called 911, which allowed SEPTA agents 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 heinous act, and it could have stopped sooner if a train passenger had called 911.
‘SEPTA urges anyone who notices a crime or a dangerous situation to report it. Anyone who witnesses an emergency should call 911 immediately.”
Ngoy was charged with rape and sexual assault.
He remains in prison and cannot pay bail, NBC 10 reports. It was not clear whether he had a lawyer to speak on his behalf.