A homeless man charged with raping a woman on a commuter train outside Philadelphia claimed the encounter was consensual, according to a report Monday.
Fiston Ngoy, 35, who has been charged with rape in Wednesday’s attack aboard a Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority train, told Upper Darby police he had recognized the woman and tried to strike up a conversation, according to an affidavit of probable cause for his arrest obtained by the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Ngoy insisted the encounter with the woman, who told cops she was drunk and alone at the time, had been consensual. But she said that version of events was false, telling investigators Ngoy ignored her pleas for him to go away.
Surveillance footage from inside the SEPTA train backed up the woman’s account, showing Ngoy spending nearly 45 minutes trying to touch and grope her prior the 10 p.m. Wednesday attack, the affidavit states.
SEPTA cops arrested Ngoy, who listed a shelter in Philadelphia as his last address, minutes after an off-duty transit officer who witnessed the assault called an emergency line. But no one onboard the westbound train on the Market-Frankford line stepped in to stop the attack, police said.
It remained unclear Monday exactly how many other passengers were in the car at the time, but Upper Darby police Superintendent Timothy Bernhardt said the attack may have been prevented if someone got involved.
“There was a lot of people in my opinion that should have intervened, somebody should have done something,” Bernhardt said Saturday. “It speaks to where we are in society and who would allow something like that to take place. So it’s troubling.”
Bernhardt said the “unbelievably strong woman” told cops she remembered getting on the train at about 9:15 p.m. in Philadelphia. She said she couldn’t recall anything after that until cops pulled her attacker off of her, the Inquirer reported.
The woman told cops she had a few beers after work, but got onto the wrong train. About a minute later, Ngoy also got on, according to the affidavit.
Ngoy then began to talk to her and moved to the seat beside her before starting to touch the woman and grabbing her breast at one point, a surveillance video showed. Each time, the woman pushed Ngoy away, the footage showed.
“Throughout this time, the victim is obviously struggling with keeping him off of her,” cops wrote in the affidavit.
Ngoy then raped the woman at 9:52 p.m. before being pulled away from the woman by SEPTA cops. He later told investigators she struck up a conversation with the woman he had seen before, claiming she initiated the sexual encounter and did not stop his advances, the Inquirer reported.
The woman, meanwhile, told investigators in a statement that she had never seen Ngoy before, according to the affidavit.
Ngoy remained jailed Monday on $180,000 bail on charges of rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, sexual assault and related counts. Court records did not indicate that he had hired an attorney ahead of his Oct. 25 preliminary hearing in Upper Darby, the Inquirer reported.
A spokesperson for Broad Street Ministry – the shelter and outreach center that Ngoy listed as his last address – did not return a message seeking comment Monday, according to the Inquirer.