Police Suggest Possible Charges for Those Who Filmed Rape on Train [Updated]

The recent rape of a woman on a train in Pennsylvania has shocked and disgusted the nation, particularly after passengers did nothing to help the woman as she was allegedly attacked by Fiston Ngoy, 35. Now police are reportedly considering criminal charges against passengers who filmed the rape and did not call the police.

The woman was reportedly harassed by Ngoy for a long period before he raped her in front of the other passengers.

The question is the basis for such criminal charges. There is first the failure to call police. Then there is the filming of the attack. While passengers could claim that they were recording the crime, police say that the passengers did not call them or share the videos.

Generally there is no duty to rescue or to call police under the common law. Some states have moved to penalize those who do not call police. For example, Washington state allows for the charging of a misdemeanor.The law covers violent crimes, sexual assault, and assault of a child. The law requires that individuals “shall as soon as reasonably possible notify the prosecuting attorney, law enforcement, medical assistance, or other public officials.”  The law further states “The duty to notify a person or agency under this section is met if a person notifies or attempts to provide such notice by telephone or any other means as soon as reasonably possible.”

I am unaware of such a law in Pennsylvania, but these laws are rarely enforced.

Conversely, New York charged a woman for calling police in a racially charged incident in Central Park. The charge was later dismissed.

We have seen criminal charges for videotaping crime scenes in other countries.  We also discussed a torts case involving a delay in calling police, but that case involved people who were deemed partially responsible for a death.

In 2009, the New York courts ruled that Metro workers were not legally required to assist a woman being raped at a station.

In torts, there is no duty to rescue rule.  That was the holding in the famous ruling in Yania v. Bigan, 397 Pa. 316, 155 A.2d 343 (1959), where a man watched another man drown without taking any efforts to assist him. Even though Bigan dared Yania to jump into the hole full of water, the court found that this made no difference. Since these taunts were “directed to an adult in full possession of all his mental faculties [it] constitutes actionable negligence is not only without precedent but completely without merit.” On the rule itself, the Court wrote:

Lastly, it is urged that Bigan failed to take the necessary steps to rescue Yania from the water. The mere fact that Bigan saw Yania in a position of peril in the water imposed upon him no legal, although a moral, obligation or duty to go to his rescue unless Bigan was legally responsible, in whole or in part, for placing Yania in the perilous position: Restatement, Torts, § 314. Cf: Restatement, Torts, § 322. The language of this Court in Brown v. French, 104 Pa. 604, 607, 608, is apt: “If it appeared that the deceased, by his own carelessness, contributed in any degree to the accident which caused the loss of his life, the defendants ought not to have been held to answer for the consequences resulting from that accident. … He voluntarily placed himself in the way of danger, and his death was the result of his own act. … That his undertaking was an exceedingly reckless and dangerous one, the event proves, but there was no one to blame for it but himself…The complaint does not aver any facts which impose upon Bigan legal responsibility for placing Yania in the dangerous position in the water and, absent such legal responsibility, the law imposes on Bigan no duty of rescue.

Europeans have always criticized our rule and many countries have long recognized a duty to rescue — though usually that obligation ends with any physical risk.

New York was the scene of perhaps the most infamous example of citizens failing to act to protect a victim. Kitty Genovese (right) kittygenovesewas stabbed to death near her home in Queens on March 13, 1964. She was stabbed twice in the back by Winston Moseley and screamed, “Oh my God, he stabbed me! Help me!” While someone yelled, “let that girl alone” and Moseley ran, no one called the police. Genovese crawled away, but Moseley returned ten minutes later and searched for her. Over the course of half an hour, he raped her and then murdered her. Somewhere between 12 and 38 people are estimated as having heard the assault. When witness Karl Ross finally called the police, they arrived within minutes. (Note some have contested the claims of a lack of a response).

I am unaware of a criminal provision that would allow a charge for the other passengers in Pennsylvania. Indeed, I know of no law requiring an intervention in a violent crime scene anywhere in the country. Perhaps some of our Pennsylvania lawyers could help out.  Requiring people to take such a risk is unlikely to be upheld in court. The failure to call 911, as discussed above, is a crime in a few states but only treated as a misdemeanor in those rare cases of prosecution.

Update: the police later said that they were not considering charges.

41 thoughts on “Police Suggest Possible Charges for Those Who Filmed Rape on Train [Updated]”

  1. I can only guess the race of the witnesses who recorded the rape. Not criminal, but subhuman behavior.

  2. “People who videotaped the crime could potentially be subject to a crime, though that would be up to the District Attorney’s office.”


    Based on what we’ve seen from the GS-purchased DAs when it comes to prosecuting crimes, don’t hold your breath.

  3. Monument says:

    “Society reacts to situations the way it is conditioned to react.”

    How right you are. And when you tell your followers that they won’t have a county anymore unless they fight like Hell, is it any wonder they will attack the police in storming the Capitol to put an end to an Electoral count of a “fraudulent” election? Big Lies have consequences…

    1. The precedent was set up a violent mob or rioters and arsonists trying to burn down a federal courthouse in Portland- and people in Congress xcomplaining about how the vans used to transport the suspects to jail were not properly marked


    To assure the “…harmony of the ingredients…” and to avoid “…a discordant intermixture…” that engenders “…an injurious tendency…,” the American Founders restricted immigration to “…free white person(s)…” in the Naturalization Act of 1790. The restrictions in that Act were in full force and effect in 1863 upon the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation requiring the unmitigated, summary deportation of freed slaves.

    “The influx of foreigners must, therefore, tend to produce a heterogeneous compound; to change and corrupt the national spirit; to complicate and confound public opinion; to introduce foreign propensities. In the composition of society, the harmony of the ingredients is all-important, and whatever tends to a discordant intermixture must have an injurious tendency.”

    – Alexander Hamilton

    Naturalization Acts of 1790, 1795, 1798 and 1802 (four iterations)

    United States Congress, “An act to establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization,” March 26, 1790

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That any Alien being a free white person, who shall have resided within the limits and under the jurisdiction of the United States for the term of two years, may be admitted to become a citizen thereof

    January 1, 1863

    By the President of the United States of America:

    A Proclamation.

    Whereas, on the twenty-second day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, a proclamation was issued by the President of the United States, containing, among other things, the following, to wit:

    “That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom….”

  5. First the left tears down the traditions/institutions within a society, religion, families, law & order, then it is steady march to a security state. That happens when a citizenry finally begs the government (state) to save them. Reliance on ones self and family is supplanted by reliance on the state. People make money from chaos, politicians gain votes from chaos (or so they think) and governments become more centralized. Responsibility for ones self and toward others is out the window. People only look at things in the context of ‘what can I get out of it’. None of the people on that train even had a thought of ‘if this was me I would someone would help’.

  6. The gang thugs (I mean the 100,000 street gang members) run Chicago. No one wishes to testify against the gang thugs. Meanwhile the media bashes the police and the social justice warriors want to defund the police. This is the beginning of anarchy!

  7. This is a really horrific story. Although I know of the bystander effect it is terrible to imagine that a society can become so numb that people can ignore a fellow in in distress. I hope that I would have done, though I suppose the coward in me might have won the day but then the shame would be almost unbearable.

  8. Such moral apathy is indicative of a decaying culture.

    Virtue is becoming rare.

    Everyone who failed to help that woman, and who failed to notify authorities, are rank cowards. How many of them describe themselves as feminists? They’ve got to live with their cowardice.

    My sincerest condolences for the lady.

    Such bystander apathy is sickening.

    I remember a long time ago, watching a video where they staged large actors appearing to beat up a smaller Latino man. They coordinated this with the police. It was a study to gauge public involvement. Almost all of the times, bystanders just walked by, and didn’t get involved. A few called police. But one time, a car screeched to a halt, came up on the curb, and this tiny Latina woman, who looked to be in her late 30s early 40s, exploded out of the car, threw her arms out to protect the smaller man, and scolded everyone within an inch of their lives. They were lucky she didn’t have a chancla. Watching the video, I thought she was very brave. Now, I’d wonder if her gender would protect her from depraved individuals who no longer ascribe to the idea that hitting women is cowardly.

    When Judeo Christian values go gown, leaving atheism and hedonism, society decays. Right and wrong become “what’s in it for me.”

    1. Karen, I saw an incident on the news several years ago. This happened in No. Virginia. A woman pulled into a 7-11 with her 8-9 y/o son. She waited in the car and he ran in to get ice cream. As the boy came out of the store, a black man grabbed him and started dragging him away. He clearly wasn’t the father of the blond boy. Mom jumped out of the car, grabbed the boy’s arm and started screaming for help. A tug-of-war ensued in the parking lot over the boy. Several adult men stood there and did nothing but watch. Then a tiny 60 something Hispanic women jumped in and started hitting the kidnapper with her purse. Still, the men did nothing. Finally the cops arrived (store clerk had called) and arrested him. When interviewed on the news, the older lady said she helped because she would want someone to help if her children or grandchildren were being kidnapped. It would have been interesting if the reporter interviewed the men who were too indifferent or cowardly to help.

      1. Tin, it’s interesting that the only people intervening were two women – the mother and the other lady.

        The expectation used to be that a real man would protect women and children. Those days seem to be fading.

        I remember when I was in my 20s, I twisted my ankle catching my heel in a cobble stone in front of Trevi Fountain in Rome. A man walking by caught me, and without a murmur simply picked me up, and carried me to a nearby cafe. Of course he did. It was Rome. Men used to be proud of both grand gestures, and simple, everyday acts of chivalry, like holding a door for a lady or giving his seat up. For grown men to just sit there like lumps while an attempted kidnapping takes place is inconceivable. There’s no way I, as a mother, would have just gone on my way witnessing such a scene.

        God bless that lady who helped.

    2. Karen S says:

      “Right and wrong become “what’s in it for me.”

      In a word, TRUMP!

      1. Only a deranged moron like you could work Trump into that. TDS should be in the latest DSM, with the likes of YOU as a cited case…

    3. Interesting perspectives many portray here. Mostly blaming the left and the lack of moral authority. What is interesting is that this kind of behavior, standing by and doing nothing, is actually quite prevalent with conservatives. Many don’t realize it but it’s there. It involves different types of crimes or situations.
      Isn’t the point conservatives make that you shouldn’t rely on anyone but yourself? Isn’t that the point of those touting the purpose of the 2nd amendment?

      Remember that Florida school shooting where an actual police officer ran away from the shooting and the court stated he had no duty to defend those kids? Conservatives were supporting the cop’s argument and pointing out why everyone should be armed including teachers. That’s essentially the conservative mantra. You only look after yourself. Everyone else is in their own. It’s a mantra that applies to finances, healthcare, work, etc.

      Libertarians are more in line with that kind of thinking, with the exception of protecting property The government isn’t obligated to protect you from harm, why should people?

      1. Svelaz says:

        “Isn’t the point conservatives make that you shouldn’t rely on anyone but yourself? Isn’t that the point of those touting the purpose of the 2nd amendment?”

        Conservative Archie Bunker long ago believed the more guns, the better:


        1. Although Norman Lear was lampooning gun-right advocates, and who BETTER than the late Carroll O’Connor, ol “Arch was proved RIGHT some 50 years later I still wonder about the wisdom and the logistics of ARMING all passengers boarding an airliner, but you have to admit, it’d be a FAIR fight against any would-be armed skyjacker! Hmm…gunplay at 35,000 feet…gee, WHAT could go wrong?


          NOTE: most who’ve actually endured an explosive decompression at high altitudes agree that the somewhat “chunky” Auric Goldfinger being sucked through a blown aircraft window wouldn’t actually happen, but 007’s earlier warning to “Pussy Galore” about firing weapons aboard aircraft, specifically the S&W Model 22, firing .45 ACP rounds (presumably with moon clips) she had leveled at him, which would pass through him (maybe, the ‘spread on a .45 ACP would likely knock him to the floor and cause a grievous enough would that he’d be dead in seconds) and would rip through the thin fuselage. Neve mind the round possibly severing a hydraulic or fuel line. 007’s advice is quite sound, as was his sense of self-preservation.

      2. What is interesting is that this kind of behavior, standing by and doing nothing, is actually quite prevalent with conservatives.

        Then you should have no problem providing evidence to support your opinion.

        Conservatives were supporting the cop’s argument…

        What conservatives supported a police officer running away because he had no duty to defend the children?

        That’s essentially the conservative mantra. You only look after yourself. Everyone else is in their own. It’s a mantra that applies to finances, healthcare, work, etc.

        You apparently have no idea what the conservative mantra is. You will never find any true conservative that believes the drivel you’ve posted.

      3. Svelaz:

        The military trend conservative. While there are Liberals and Progressives in the military, it’s usually has more right-leaning people. Every military person I know is extremely protective. That trait led them to their calling.

        Many cops I know are conservative. All of them are protective.

        The cowardly behavior of the FL police officer is no reflection on all police officers, no more than when a man rapes a woman, that is no reflection on you. He was actually charged with a crime for not responding.

        Conservatives were most certainly not supportive of a police officer freezing during a school shooting. The point was that if you are in a dangerous situation, you’ll wish you were armed.

        The conservative mantra is not every man for himself. In fact, conservatives statistically give more to charity than the far Left.

    4. “. . . leaving atheism and hedonism . . .”

      Once again, you are either ignorant of history and philosophy, or you are intentionally misrepresenting the ideological options.

      There is an entire school of thought that promotes the primacy of existence (and rejects theism) and the virtue of rationality (and rejects hedonism). You may not like that philosophy. But to pretend that it does not exist, in order to put a shine on religion, is at best irresponsible.

      “When Judeo Christian values go gown, . . . society decays.”

      How do you account for the some 1,000 years of societal decay (the Dark/Middle Ages), a period of destitution dominated by Judeo-Christian values?

      Or do you just hope to ignore that uncomfortable fact?

  9. Maybe the other passengers would have acted if they new the train would crash if they didn’t. “Let’s Roll!”

    This kind of apathy towards the defense of individual rights is reflected in the government we get.

  10. I was thinking that the charges might be for violating Federal law, not state. I’ve heard of people being charged after posting lewd photos or videos of underage teens. Something to do with creating pornography by use of interstate electronics….I don’t recall the statute(s) but it may be broad enough to cover this situation. But if the persons who recorded the crime are black, they won’t be charged. We all know that there are different sets of behavioral expectations in this country, depending on your race and politics.

  11. Another worthless bum doing what bums do. Thanks to Dimadelphians for proving what they truly are. Empathy is not a trait for a lot of people. Courage, either.

    1. Mespo says:

      “Empathy is not a trait for a lot of people. Courage, either.”

      Why does TRUMP spring to mind?

  12. Kyle Rittenhouse could not be reached for comment.

    A Texas Sheriff is going to deputize thousands to deal with illegal immigrants.

    A simple right of self defense will too often land you in a courtroom or jail sell. Defending strangers? Against an aggressive POC?

  13. Living in the inner city hell holes where the citizenry and media mock having good morals, can be a double edge sword. My family and friends who try to live with morals standards, try to stay out of the hell holes. Stories like this, give support to our conclusions.

    1. If we had even a semi-civilized culture, I’d agree with your indignation. But this is not that (which is why a comparison to the infamous Genovese case is inapt).

      What we have now is free-range thugs — with the police forced to stand-down in the face of “peaceful” protestors, police smeared, fired, prosecuted for doing their jobs. Add to that the race hucksters who chant “say their names” and excoriate the police for apprehending a black thug.

      When a culture punishes individuals for doing what is right and just, don’t expect them to stand up in the future.

  14. We know what we should do.

    We know what we would like to do.

    We also know the smart thing to do.

    Look how the media, the liberals, and the police would treat the situation if a white man had pulled a (probably illegally carried) gun on a black man and stopped the crime.

    Society reacts to situations the way it is conditioned to react.

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