SEPTA hopes a highly-publicized rape that occurred last week on the Market-Frankford Line serves as a “wake-up call” for riders hesitant to report criminal activity, an authority spokesperson said.
No one intervened or contacted 911 until a SEPTA employee on their way to work boarded the train during the attack, according to authorities.
It is unclear how many people were in the train car at the time, but it wasn’t empty, SEPTA spokesman Andrew Busch said.
The victim, an adult woman, was sitting on a train heading westbound through West Philadelphia just after 10 p.m. Wednesday when a man sat next to her.
She fought back when he attempted to inappropriately touch her, and he proceeded to rip her clothes off and sexually assault her, Busch said.
After the SEPTA employee called police, a transit officer stationed at 69th Street Transportation Center in Upper Darby waited for the train to arrive, and the suspect, identified as 35-year-old Fishton Ngoy, was arrested in the act, authorities said.
About 8 minutes elapsed from the time Ngoy allegedly approached the victim to when he was apprehended.
“We think that we may have been able to stop this sooner had somebody called 911, somebody who saw what was going on before the SEPTA employee did,” Busch said.
“We really hope that if anything comes out of this, people will know that we need them to help us make the system safe and to prevent something like this from happening to other people,” he added.
Busch said reports of sexual assaults are very rare throughout the SEPTA system.
Upper Darby police are investigating the rape case. The department did not respond to a request for comment Sunday.