Content warning: This story mentions violence against women and sexual assault that might be upsetting to some readers.
Ari Goldstein, the former president of Temple’s chapter of Alpha Epsilon Pi, was found guilty of attempted sexual assault, attempted involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and indecent assault of a Temple student Tuesday.
He was found not guilty of sexual assault, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and indecent assault in connection with the alleged assault of an alumna in November 2017.
The jury announced its decision after deliberating for an afternoon and a morning on the fifth day of the trial that started Feb. 11. Goldstein will be sentenced on May 4. He will remain in custody until his sentencing.
In February 2018, Goldstein invited a survivor to a bedroom inside the fraternity house to smoke marijuana. He pushed her onto a couch and restrained her, kissing her and digging his knee into her thigh while laughing and shushing her.
Goldstein then pushed the survivor’s upper body onto him and pressed her head toward his crotch, thrusting his hips toward her face. The survivor was able to push Goldstein off of her and run out of the room. She saw a bruise on her thigh where Goldstein had pressed his knee the next day.
He was found not guilty of charges related to an incident in November 2017, in which an alumna testified that Goldstein invited her into a bedroom inside the fraternity house and began to have sex with her. At first, it was consensual, she testified, before Goldstein became physically aggressive and she asked him to stop.
Goldstein allegedly complied but then asked the alumna to perform oral sex on him, which she initially agreed to but later told him to stop and he would not, she testified. The alumna was able to push herself off Goldstein and escape the room, she told jurors. Goldstein texted her an apology the next day, saying he had blacked out and would “never intentionally do anything to hurt you.”
After the verdict was read, Philadelphia Assistant District Attorney Zachary Wynkoop told the student and alumna how proud he was of them bravely coming forward with their stories, he said at a press conference.
“I think this sends a message that going out and, heaven forbid, dancing, being a college-aged student, going to a party, is no longer a criminal act for a young woman,” Wynkoop said. “That they still have the right to their body, that they still have sovereignty over themselves, and at the end of the day, no still means no.”
In a statement, District Attorney Larry Krasner said the women who came forward endured “unfair and untruthful assaults upon their character” in court by Goldstein’s defense lawyers.
“They showed special courage that ultimately will not only protect others from this defendant, but will protect others from a culture that tolerates rape and sexual assault in fraternities, in academia, and in society,” Krasner said.
Perry de Marco Sr., one of Goldstein’s defense lawyers, said they fought “very hard” against having the two cases tried together.
“If they were not tried together, we believe we would have won the whole show, not just half the show,” de Marco said.
De Marco added that while he does not blame the victims, both of Goldstein’s accusers put themselves in a “compromising position.”
“I’m saying that the way everybody looks at these cases, they never, they always talk about the responsibilities of the man, but never the responsibility of the victim to not put yourself in a dangerous position,” he said. “What’s wrong with that? That’s what every parent says to their daughter.”
Temple suspended AEPi from campus in April 2018 while Philadelphia Police investigated the fraternity for multiple reports of sexual assault, The Temple News reported. Goldstein was initially arrested on sexual assault-related charges in May 2018 and again in August 2018.
While the university will not comment on Goldstein’s case, they encourage anyone who believes they have been a victim of sexual misconduct to file a report with Temple’s Title IX office, Tuttleman Counseling Services or Campus Police, wrote Ray Betzner, a spokesperson for the university, in an email to The Temple News.