The former president of a Temple University fraternity, charged this week with attempted rape, is accused of trying to force a 19-year-old woman to perform sex acts on him in his bedroom at the fraternity house, grabbing her by the wrists, digging his knee into her thigh, and telling her to “shush” as she was crying, according to court documents.
Ari Goldstein, 21, of Wrightstown Township, Bucks County, is charged with attempted rape, indecent assault, simple assault, and other counts.
The alleged assault Feb. 25 inside Goldstein’s third-floor bedroom at Alpha Epsilon Pi was one of several incidents police said they were investigating last month as they announced a probe into the fraternity, whose house is at Broad and Norris Streets in North Philadelphia.
Temple suspended the chapter last month. In a statement Thursday, Jonathan Pierce, the fraternity’s national spokesman, said, “We are, obviously, deeply troubled by the charges leveled at this young man.” He said Goldstein “resigned and was removed as president several weeks ago,” after the alleged assault.
Goldstein’s attorney, Perry de Marco Sr., said Goldstein “absolutely, wholeheartedly” denies the allegations and intends to fight the charges.
De Marco said that despite his efforts to tell authorities he would make Goldstein available for surrender if an arrest was imminent, Goldstein was taken into custody Sunday at Boston Logan International Airport while preparing to depart on a previously scheduled group trip to Israel.
After Goldstein allowed extradition and returned to Philadelphia, de Marco said, the District Attorney’s Office asked to set his bail at $10 million — which de Marco said is about 800 times higher than the guidelines suggest. In an interview Thursday, de Marco described that request as “unconstitutional, [and] damn near illegal, because bail is not designed to be a punishment.”
“Why don’t you just shoot him now, or castrate him now?” de Marco asked sarcastically.
De Marco said he felt that prosecutors were unfairly attempting to make an example out of Goldstein and that District Attorney Larry Krasner — who has sought to reduce the use of cash bail for some nonviolent offenses — has “taken the position that he’s going to be hard on sex cases.”
De Marco also said he felt the #MeToo movement played a role.
“The #MeToo movement and movements of that ilk are serving a very good cause, a cause that I personally believe in,” de Marco said. “But at the same time, there’s a sentiment that I know exists throughout this country, that people are just jumping on a bandwagon years later and suddenly [others] are destroyed.”
Ben Waxman, a spokesman for Krasner’s office, said Thursday that prosecutors sought a high bail for Goldstein “because of the seriousness of the crime.”
Bail ultimately was set at $2 million. Goldstein posted 10 percent and was released Thursday.
According to an affidavit of probable cause, Goldstein and the woman were inside his bedroom when he locked the door, grabbed her by a wrist, then pulled her to a couch and kept trying to kiss her. Goldstein grew more forceful, the affidavit says, and the woman began to cry and yelled for him to stop, but the music in his room was too loud for anyone else to hear.
Goldstein then told the woman to “shush” and “began to dig his knee into her thigh, which caused a bruise,” the affidavit says. He then rolled the woman on top of him and tried to force her into a sex act, but she was able to kick him and run out of the house, the document says.
The affidavit does not identify the woman or say if she was a Temple student. The Inquirer and Daily News do not identify victims of alleged sex crimes without their permission.
The affidavit says the woman spoke with Temple police about the incident April 13, a week before Temple suspended the fraternity and Philadelphia police publicly announced their inquiry. In a university-wide message sent April 20, Temple officials said they had received “credible reports” of sexual assault, underage drinking, and possible drug use at the fraternity.
Goldstein, an engineering major, is due in court May 31 for a preliminary hearing, according to court records.
Founded in 1913 at New York University, Alpha Epsilon Pi is a historically Jewish college fraternity with chapters on more than 190 campuses in seven countries and more than 90,000 living alumni, according to its website.