Friends of survivors testify in Goldstein trial

Ari Goldstein is accused of sexually assaulting a Temple student and an alumna inside AEPi’s fraternity house in 2017 and 2018.

(Left) Ari Goldstein and his attorney Perry DeMarco Sr. walk into the Juanita Kidd Stout Center for Criminal Justice on Feb. 13. | JEREMY ELVAS / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Content warning: This article discusses topics around sexual assault that may be triggering for some readers.

Witness testimony in the trial of Ari Goldstein, the former president of Temple’s Alpha Epsilon Pi chapter, ended today after a speedy examination of the defense’s witnesses. Closing arguments will begin tomorrow.

Their testimonies marked the third day of Goldstein’s trial, which began Tuesday. Yesterday, Goldstein’s accusers testified in court, alleging that the 23-year-old, who faces 14 charges, sexually assaulted them in AEPI’s fraternity house on Broad Street near Norris.

Jurors first heard testimony from friends of a Temple student and an alumna — the people who say they were sexually assaulted by Goldstein.

One survivor, who previously had sexual encounters with Goldstein, alleges in November 2017, Goldstein invited her into a bedroom inside the fraternity house and began to have sex with her. At first, it was consensual, she testified, but Goldstein became aggressive. 

Goldstein allegedly asked the survivor to perform oral sex on him, which she initially agreed to but later told him to stop, but he would not, she testified. After pushing herself off Goldstein, she was able to escape the room. Goldstein allegedly texted her an apology the next day.

Mitchell Pisarz, the former vice president of AEPi and a friend of a survivor, testified today that in 2017, he and the survivor met at the Draught Horse on Cecil B. Moore Avenue near 15th Street before going to a party at AEPi’s house. While at the party, the survivor left Pisarz’s room, he testified, and he did not see her again until he went to her house in the early hours of the morning.

Shortly after, the survivor “seemed slightly upset,” he said, but did not describe to Pisarz, a 2019 alumnus, what was bothering her. Later, after Pisarz spent the night at the survivor’s house, the two exchanged Snapchat messages in which she described the alleged assault, he testified.

In the messages, the survivor describes that she “clearly said ‘no’ and ‘stop’ multiple times” throughout her encounter with Goldstein, Pisarz testified. She sent Pisarz a picture of a bruise that she got from the encounter, but Pisarz could not see it in the picture, he testified.

After learning of the incident, Pisarz confronted Goldstein with the survivor’s accusations, he testified. Goldstein was “shocked” and “surprised” upon hearing the allegations, Pisarz testified, and Goldstein agreed to text an apology to the survivor after Pisarz urged him to.

Asked whether his friendship with Goldstein and the survivor clouded his judgment in the case, Pisarz said, “not one bit.”

On Wednesday, the other survivor testified that in February 2018, after Goldstein led her into a bedroom inside the fraternity house, he locked the door, forced himself on her and pinned her on a couch and began to kiss her. The survivor said although she moved her head back to resist Goldstein, he continued to kiss her. When the survivor yelled for him to stop, no one could hear her through the loud music at the fraternity house, she testified.

He allegedly tried to force her to perform oral sex on him before she broke free and ran out of the room.

Mental Health and Sexual Abuse Resources

Casey Miller, a junior art therapy major and friend of the other survivor, testified that they attended a party at AEPi’s house in February 2018, the night of the alleged assault. While at the party, Goldstein allegedly asked the survivor to smoke marijuana with him in his bedroom, Miller testified.

Miller did not see the survivor for more than half an hour before she came back down, she testified. The student told Miller that Ari had hurt her but did not go into further detail, Miller said.

“She looked extremely frightened,” Miller said. “She just wanted to get out of there.”

The survivor told Miller of the alleged incident in more detail a week or more after it happened, she testified. After seeing Goldstein on campus, the survivor allegedly had a panic attack and immediately called Miller. Miller testified that they then reported the incident to Ryan Aitken, a Temple Police detective who testified Wednesday.

Edward Enriquez, a detective in Philadelphia Police’s special victims unit, also testified today, describing how police executed search warrants on the AEPi house and Goldstein’s phone. An investigation of Goldstein’s phone revealed that he had searched “indecent assault” and “is forcible touching indecent assault” on Google, Enriquez testified, the same day he received a letter from Temple notifying him that he was accused him of sexual assault.

After the state rested its case, the defense called Alexa Silverman, a junior chemistry and education major who was the roommate of one of the survivors for two years. Silverman testified that the survivor had told her about her encounter with Goldstein months after the alleged incident. But the survivor only told her that when she had gone up to Goldstein’s room, it was consensual, and that she eventually ran out of the room, Silverman testified.

In rapid-fire, the defense called Julie Goldstein, Ari Goldstein’s sister, Eric Taskin, a childhood friend of his, and Richard Stram, a doctor who knew the family. All of them testified, with little to no cross-examination, that Ari Goldstein was a good, law-abiding citizen.

The Temple News does not publish the names of survivors of sexual assault without permission.

1 Comment

  1. I don’t think it’s accurate to call them “survivors” until a guilty verdict has been rendered. “Accusers” is a more accurate term at this point.

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