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SEPTA Riders Held Up Phones As Woman Was Raped On El Train In Upper Darby, Authorities Say

UPPER DARBY, Pa. (CBS) -- "Somebody should have done something." SEPTA's top cop with those words after a woman was raped on a SEPTA train with other riders present.

SEPTA wants everyone to be angry and be part of the solution.

Officials say the victim is recovering despite surviving what SEPTA calls a "horrendous criminal act" that happened right around 11 p.m. last Wednesday.

"There were people witnessing the act with phones in their hands," SEPTA Police Chief Thomas Nestel said.

SEPTA's chief of police with a disturbing account of what happened as a woman was raped by a stranger onboard an EL train in Upper Darby last Wednesday night.

Investigators say other riders did not help.

"People were holding their phone up in the direction of this woman being attacked," Nestel said.

He also says no one called Philadelphia's 911 and that it was a SEPTA employee who alerted police something wasn't right.

"When the doors opened, an officer entered and saw what he believed was a criminal act occurring, ripped that man off of her," Nestel said.

Fiston Ngoy, 35, has been charged with rape.

Now, SEPTA leaders are urging all riders not to hesitate to report suspicious activity, either by calling 911 or pressing the emergency button inside all trains.

"It automatically lights up and contacts the operator of the train," a SEPTA employee said, showing how the emergency system on the trains work.

On Monday, some SEPTA riders were familiar with the feature.

"A little kid hit one once so I remember an operator called the train to see if everything was OK," SEPTA rider Abby Tootell said.

Others told Eyewitness News they're often hesitant to get involved.

"I've seen people fight when we got off the train and I just walked away," one rider said.

While SEPTA says they've increased security, they're hoping more riders will also speak up in the name of safety.

"Be angry, be disgusted, be resolute about making the system safe by contacting us," Nestel said.

Riders are also encouraged to download SEPTA's Transit Watch app to anonymously text with a dispatcher in the case of an emergency.

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