Philadelphia’s Market Frankford El might be compared to a circus freak show on the move. The 45-minute ride from the Frankford Terminal to the 69th Street Terminal in Upper Darby takes about 45 minutes. The innumerable station stops along the way include the drug-infested neighborhoods of Kensington, where slumped over Fentanyl and Synthetic Cannabinoid (K2/Spice) addicts enter the train in great numbers, often nodding out in their seats, spilling coffee or soft drinks and sometimes vomiting or urinating when fellow passengers aren’t looking. During the worst of the pandemic in 2020 when ridership was low, large numbers of homeless took to sleeping on the trains. Now that ridership is up to par, the sleepers are less obvious but the homeless keep coming, attracting all sorts of hucksters who roam from car to car selling candy, incense or beef jerky, no doubt shoplifted from stores. Despite recorded warnings from the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (Septa) that passengers should not move between cars while the train is in motion, few obey the rule.
If you want proof that Philadelphia is the “poorest” of the largest U.S. cities, ride the Market-Frankford El and forget tony Rittenhouse Square or the lush Bacchanal $12,000 ticketed galas at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts: the El is the real Philadelphia as are the neighborhoods it passes through. The sad fact is, the so-called ‘nicer” areas of the city like Chestnut Hill seem to be getting smaller and more vulnerable to the sleazier elements in the city that seem to be expanding like an invading army.
In many ways, the El’s freak-show environs was the perfect place for a homeless, illegal immigrant named Fiston Ngoy to force himself on a homeless woman who spent her days riding the train because she had no place to go. Ngoy, who came to the United States in 2012 on a student visa, did not return to his own country, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, when his visa expired in 2015, but chose to stay in the United States illegally.
During that time, Ngoy chalked up a sex abuse-and-drugs rap sheet which should have been the green light for his deportation. In D.C., for instance, Ngoy pleaded guilty to misdemeanor sexual abuse in 2017 after groping two women on the street. Ngoy was never deported because an immigration judge, clearly under the spell of the Left’s open borders mania, granted him “withholding of removal” in March 2019. Ngoy was then arrested in June 2020 and again in May 2021 before his arrest on October 13, when he was charged with rape and sexually assaulting the woman he sat beside on the Market Street El.
Ngoy, who told police that he knew the woman in question (as if knowing someone constitutes a permission slip for rape) began harassing her sexually almost as soon as he sat next to her. About ten minutes from the 69th Street terminal, he tore off her pants and began to rape her in the open as passengers in the train videotaped the action on their phones. Reports indicate that the passengers who filmed the crime were not adults but minors riding the El late at night. There was a time when this fact alone was a cause for alarm — what kinds of families allow their children to ride a big city train late at night? — but in today’s progressive world a question like that would only bring out accusations of racism.
As for Ngoy’s brazen sexual assault in such a public place, in many ways it is to be expected in a city up to its neck in lawlessness, shootings and murders since Larry Krasner became DA in 2017, and since the George Floyd riots in 2020. These events have left something stupefying in the air here, so much so that in many ways Philadelphia feels like a different city than it was just fifteen years ago.
If one were to measure Ngoy’s rape and assault charges on a crime seriousness scale, it would only be a notch or two above the anarchy of ATVs and dirt bikes being given the freedom to run rampant on busy downtown streets in a city where — let’s not forget this fact — little children get shot in front of their homes. Why not throw a little rape into the mix of lawlessness?
The fact that Ngoy, an illegal, was not deported by that federal judge who allowed him to remain in the United States despite his long rap sheet of crimes, speaks to the breakdown in common sense and decency we find everywhere in society now, due in large part from the myriad influences of leftism. This breakdown, of course, is most evident in cities like Philadelphia — where it’s more important to implement a ban on plastic bags and remove “offensive” Christopher Columbus and Frank Rizzo statues rather than question or revise DA Larry Krasner’s mission to let criminals out of jail early or to reduce penalties for violent crime because the accused comes from an agreed-upon victim class.
The arrest of Ngoy occurred as the train approached the 69th Street Terminal while (according to police) he was “in the middle of the rape” (the actual rape lasted from 6 to 8 minutes). This horrifying crime is a forceful reminder of what could happen in the United States on a grander scale if the patterns set in migrant-friendly Europe, especially in German cities immediately after the 2015 “open borders” migrant rush, were to become established here. On January 1, 2016, 1,000 migrant men sexually assaulted and mugged 80 women in Cologne. Similar attacks were noted in other German cities like Hamburg, Stuttgart and elsewhere in Europe. Ngoy hails from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where most of the population is Roman Catholic, a lesser percentage Protestant but a fast-growing minority, Muslim. A 2011 study by the American Journal of Public Health found that in the DR Congo there are 45 rapes every hour. A follow up study by Insecurity Insight in 2020 found little change since the 2011 report.
Rape on trains is a curious phenomenon that seems particularity prevalent in the UK where, according to the National World, there was at least one rape a week on Britain’s rail network in 2020, “including at least two gang rapes and eight attacks on children.”
The World also reported that 40 rapes took place during 2020. but it did not attempt to profile those responsible for the crimes. Could they be migrants, for instance, who in many cases have come to be associated with gang rape? Of course, reporting that the culprits were migrants and from the Middle East (implying that they are Muslim) would go against the unwritten code of protecting the reputation of migrants at all costs lest one be drawn into charges of xenophobia and Islamophobia.
Ngoy lists his address as the Broad Street Ministry (“We Practice Radical Hospitality”) on Philadelphia’s South Broad Street, a homeless shelter with leftist connections. In June 2020, the Ministry proclaimed,
Radical hospitality means that our doors are open to everyone; regardless of race, religion, gender, orientation or ability. We believe that Black Lives Matter and share in the heartache and anger of protestors across the country.
Of course, what gave Ngoy a comfortable cushion in which to operate is Philadelphia’s sanctuary city status. Philadelphia became a sanctuary city in 2014 under Mayor Michael Nutter. Mayor Jim Kenney reinstated that executive order in January 2016 at his inauguration. In 2019, the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia in a 3-0 vote said that the Trump administration could not cut off grants to the city for its refusal to cooperate with immigration authorities seeking to deport illegal immigrants. At that announcement, Mayor Kenney danced an Irish victory jig with his secretary in City Hall. Ngoy, of course, should have been the one dancing with Kenney rather than the secretary.
There’s a curious “end’” to this story, at least for the passengers who videotaped Ngoy raping the woman on the train:
After news outlets reported that passengers filmed the rape without reporting it to the police, there was talk of arresting those passengers. Because Pennsylvania does not have a Good Samaritan law, authorities were quoted as saying that pushing for prosecution would be difficult but not impossible. Ultimately that decision would be the Upper Darby District Attorney’s to make, which meant of course not charging the passengers because that’s what Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner would do. Upper Darby, it should be noted, is Philadelphia in miniature.
Upper Darby DA Jack Stollsteimer, a Democrat, who was elected in 2019 with George Soros’ money (a $90,049 super PAC gift) announced that there would be no prosecution of the passengers who filmed the crime. Stollsteimer’s decision put him at odds with Upper Darby Township Police Department superintendent Timothy Bernhardt, who stated emphatically,
I’m appalled by those who did nothing to help this woman. Anybody that was on that train has to look in the mirror and ask why they didn’t intervene or why they didn’t do something.
The Upper Darby DA then preformed a hat trick, possibly outdoing any of DA Krasner’s Philadelphia maneuvers when he affirmed that the groups of passengers “callously sitting there filming and didn’t act” during the Oct. 13 attack in Upper Darby was inaccurate.”
“People get off and on at every single stop,” Stollsteimer said.
That doesn’t mean when they get on and they see people interacting that they know a rape is occurring … The picture that people have gotten, that this crowd of people sitting there were filming and not doing anything, isn’t true.
But if it isn’t true why did nearly every media outlet in the world report that the passengers on the train recorded the incident on their phones?
George Soros’ money may be able to buy elections but at no point should it attempt to falsify reality.
“There were other people on the train who witnessed this horrific act, and it may have been stopped sooner if a rider called 911,” Septa said in a statement.
Thom Nickels is a Philadelphia-based journalist/columnist and the 2005 recipient of the AIA Lewis Mumford Award for Architectural Journalism. He is the author of fifteen books, including Literary Philadelphia and From Mother Divine to the Corner Swami: Religious Cults in Philadelphia.