Subway sex assault victim asks: Why did witness record video instead of helping?
Elena Lopez (YouTube)

Police arrested a suspect in the sexual assault more than two years ago of a woman sleeping on a New York City subway.


The Oct. 20, 2012, attack was witnessed by at least one bystander, who recorded video and uploaded it to YouTube instead of intervening, reported Gothamist.

The victim awoke to find a man, later identified by police as Carlos Chuva, resting one hand on her leg and the other on her face as he attempted to kiss her.

The woman punched him and fled.

The victim said in a December magazine interview that she was unaware of the extent of the assault until a friend sent her a link to the online video.

"I was in disbelief -- this can't be me,” Elisa Lopez told Cosmopolitan. “I felt sick to my stomach. I was yelling, screaming -- I was hysterical."

Police said the 43-year-old Chuva admitted to assaulting the woman after officers showed him a still image from the video.

Investigators declined to say how they identified Chuva as a suspect.

Lopez, a 23-year-old former Air National Guard member who is studying to be an art therapist, said bystanders should intervene instead of recording possible assaults.

"It's not going to kill you to say, 'Hey, you all right? You good?'" she told Gothamist. "People don't really think about what happens to that person in the video -- they're there for the YouTube likes, or whatever. But is it worth it to humiliate somebody for the rest of their lives?"

"What's the point of being a human being if you can't help another person?" Lopez added.

Watch Lopez discuss her experience in this online video: