Ex-Temple frat president held for trial on sex-assault charges

Ari Goldstein, left, former president of Temple University’s Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity, leaves the Criminal Justice Center with his atttorney, Perry de Marco Sr., after a preliminary hearing on Thursday, July 19, 2018.

A woman who accused a former president of Temple University’s now-suspended Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity of attempted rape felt “helpless” in his bedroom in February as he held her wrists, dug his knee into her thigh, and tried to force himself on her, she testified Thursday.

During an hour-long preliminary hearing at the Criminal Justice Center, the woman, a Temple student, accused Ari Goldstein, 21, of pinning her to his couch during a party at the fraternity house on North Broad Street while he kissed her against her will, and pushed her to perform oral sex on him — an encounter she said she tried to stop several times.

“I was thrashing,” said the woman. “I kept saying no and he kept shushing me.”

The Inquirer and Daily News do not identify victims of alleged sex crimes without their permission.

As a result of her testimony, Municipal Court Judge Lydia Y. Kirkland held Goldstein for trial on nearly all charges, including attempted rape, indecent assault, and simple assault. A count of attempted involuntary deviate sexual intercourse was dismissed for lack of evidence.

After the proceeding was over, Goldstein’s lawyer, lighting a cigar, declared that the case will make “a hell of a trial.”

Speaking before a phalanx of news cameras outside the courthouse, Perry de Marco Sr. said he had a “world of information” that demonstrated his client’s innocence. He proclaimed the case “#MeToo gone wild” and alleged that the accuser had ulterior motives.

“Make a scene, make a point for #MeToo,” de Marco said. “[Those are] her motives, and I’ll prove that. I’ll prove that beyond all doubt,” adding that he would “stand on my head in the middle of Filbert Street” if he failed to do so.

Goldstein, of Wrightstown, Bucks County, was charged in May and has remained free on bail. He stood next to de Marco outside the courthouse Thursday but did not comment. More than a dozen relatives and friends were in the courtroom during the hearing.

Goldstein is accused of trying to force his accuser to perform sex acts on him in his bedroom on Feb. 25, according to court documents.

On the witness stand Thursday, during questioning by Assistant District Attorney Lauren Stram, the woman said that she felt scared during the encounter, and that she had gone to Goldstein’s room because he had asked if she wanted to smoke marijuana.

The woman said that Goldstein forced himself on her almost immediately, and that the encounter lasted about 30 minutes. She described his actions as “stop-and-go,” but said she was afraid that an attempt to immediately leave could make him more aggressive.

The woman said she eventually shoved Goldstein off her and ran out of the room. Two months later, on April 13, she spoke with Temple police, according to the documents.

A week after that, Temple suspended the fraternity and Philadelphia police publicly announced an investigation into several allegations of sexual assault. In a university-wide message, Temple officials said they had received “credible reports” of sexual assault, underage drinking, and possible drug use at the fraternity.

Goldstein showed little emotion during Thursday’s proceeding, although he occasionally shook his head or looked back at his supporters. He is due in court for a formal arraignment Aug. 2.