Bystanders who stood by and failed to help a woman raped on a Philadelphia commuter train last week could be charged with the crime, authorities said.
Authorities say CCTV shows that passersby on the train “did nothing” while the attack took place.
Police added that some of the bystanders may have filmed the incident instead of calling the police.
A man was arrested for the incident and is now charged with rape.
The alleged rape took place last Wednesday on a Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (Septa) train. In a statement, Septa said that “there were other people on the train who witnessed this horrific act, and it may have been stopped earlier if a passenger called 911.”
A Septa employee who boarded the train called the police, who found the victim and took the suspect into custody.
The suspect – identified as 35-year-old Fishton Ngoy – now faces rape and several other criminal charges.
The victim was transported to the hospital and is cooperating with the police.
At a press conference on Monday, police said they did not believe any witnesses called 911 as the woman was harassed and eventually raped over the course of more than 40 minutes.
It is unclear how many other passengers were in the train car when the accident occurred.
Investigators are also investigating whether some passers-by filmed the assault as it took place.
“I can tell you that people kept their phones up in the direction of this woman who was being attacked,” Septa Police Chief Thomas J Nestel said Monday.
“What we want is for everyone to be angry and disgusted and to be steadfast in making the system safer,” Nestel added.
Timothy Bernhardt, superintendent of the Upper Darby Police Department, was quoted by the New York Times that bystanders who failed to help could be charged with felony if they recorded the incident.
A final decision on potential criminal charges, he said, will rest with the Delaware County District Attorney’s Office once the investigation is complete.
Although Bernhardt did not specify what charges witnesses might face, he said it would be “very difficult to accuse those” who saw the attack but did not help.
The District Attorney’s Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the BBC.
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