“This speaks to the disintegration of a society. It is a culture that is non-feeling, dehumanizing victims when we are literally seeing them in front of us,” Pirro said on “America’s Newsroom.”
Pirro noted that two factors likely played a role in the passengers’ inaction. The first is the psychological phenomenon known as the bystander effect, where the presence of other people doing nothing discourages action on the part of the individual during emergencies.
Second, Pirro asserts that the lack of a Duty to Rescue law in most U.S. states, including Pennsylvania, wherein you are not required by law to help someone in need, played a role in the passengers’ inaction.
There are some exceptions to the doctrine, such as when an individual’s negligence creates the need for a rescue, or if the person initiates a save attempt but their effort is negligent. In these situations, an individual may be liable.
Still, Pirro said that the passengers had a lot of time to step in, given how long it took for the woman to be harassed, beaten, and raped.
“This is horrific, this is awful, and this woman—what if he had taken out a knife? Would they still have continued to videotape this? It is a shame that these people are involved and you know what right now they’re the people that should be ashamed of,” she added.
Surveillance footage showed Fiston Ngoy, 35, who has been charged with rape in the sickening attack aboard a Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority train, spent nearly 45 minutes harassing the woman and touched her breast at one point, according to an arrest affidavit obtained by the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The incident spanned 27 stops on the train line.
Police said the rape lasted about six minutes as other passengers looked on while holding their cell phones, but didn’t use the devices to call 911, SEPTA’s police chief said Monday. An off-duty transit cop eventually stepped in and pulled Ngoy off the woman.
Pirro said that the most “outrageous” aspect of the case was Ngoy’s prior arrests and convictions as well as his expired U.S. student visa status. He was previously released from immigration detention and never deported.
“If I were a gambling woman I would say misdemeanor first-time sexual assault probably started as a felony, they gave him a deal, and he’s still in the country and he’s here illegally—and no one’s going to send him home,” she said.
Pirro added that prosecutors often do not take “the mantle of the victim” and said that when judges take the side of the criminal over the victim it further encourages the “total disintegration of society.”
Fox News’ Joshua Rhett Miller contributed to this report