Ari Goldstein sexual assault trial begins

The former Alpha Epsilon Pi chapter president faces 14 sexual assault-related charges.

Ari Goldstein, the former president of Temple's chapter of Alpha Epsilon Pi, listens to his attorney speak to press after a preliminary hearing for sexual assault charges against him on July 19, 2018. | LINDSAY BOWEN / FILE PHOTO

Content Warning: This story mentions details of alleged sexual assault, which may be upsetting to some readers. 

Jury selection for the trial of Ari Goldstein, the former president of Temple’s chapter of Alpha Epsilon Pi who is accused of sexually assaulting two Temple students, will begin Tuesday.

The 23-year-old will be tried on 14 charges related to two separate incidents that occurred while Goldstein was president of the fraternity. Temple suspended AEPi from campus in April 2018 after Philadelphia Police began investigating the fraternity for multiple reports of sexual assault.

Goldstein was initially arrested on sexual assault-related charges in May 2018 and arrested again in August 2018 after the second survivor of sexual assault came forward. Goldstein paid 10 percent of a $2 million bail in May 2018. He later paid 10 percent of a $1.5 million bail in August 2018 when he was arrested on additional charges. 

According to a sworn affidavit, one survivor alleges that in November 2017, Goldstein invited her into a bedroom inside the fraternity house and began to have sex with her. He allegedly became aggressive during sex, and she tried to resist his attempts. 

After pushing herself off Goldstein, the survivor allegedly was able to escape the room. Goldstein allegedly texted her an apology the next day, explaining he had blacked out and would “never intentionally do anything to hurt you,” according to the affidavit.

The other survivor alleges in February 2018, while she was in a bedroom inside AEPi’s fraternity house on Broad Street near Norris, Goldstein forced himself on her and pinned her on a couch. He allegedly attempted to force her to perform oral sex on him before she broke free and ran out of the room.

Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Timika Lane ruled in March 2019 the two cases be tried at the same time. 

At a motions hearing in March 2019, Lauren Stram, a 2015 law alumna and the assistant district attorney, argued the two survivors’ allegations were similar enough to argue in one trial, citing the similar age of the survivors and the fact that both were Temple students.

Stram also said there should be one trial because of the similar circumstances of the alleged assaults.

“When things don’t go his way, he forces them to perform oral sex on him,” Stram said in court.

Perry de Marco Sr., Goldstein’s lawyer, said combining the two cases creates “a tremendous disadvantage to the defense.”

“It’s a disadvantage for many reasons, but the greatest of which is that a jury can easily get confused in trying to sort out the evidence,” he added. 

A spokesperson for the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office declined to comment on the upcoming trial.

If Goldstein, who was not offered a plea deal, is convicted, his lawyers will cite the consolidation of the two cases in their appeal of his case, de Marco said.

The trial could last up to 10 days or more, he added. 

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