On his way to Israel on May 13 for a Birthright trip, Ari Goldstein, a former Temple University Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi) fraternity president, was taken into custody during a layover at Boston Logan International Airport.
The 21-year-old, who had resigned from his position several weeks earlier, was charged with attempt to commit rape, indecent assault, simple assault, unlawful restraint and false imprisonment, all stemming from a Feb. 25 incident.
On May 17, Goldstein was freed after posting $200,000, or 10 percent, of the $2 million bail.
“I can tell you in no uncertain terms, if the evidence in this case is what I think it is, Ari Goldstein is going to fight this case tooth and nail to the end,” said Perry de Marco, Sr., Goldstein’s defense attorney. “This will be a fierce fight, and this will be a fight, not only for his freedom, but for his vindication.”
An affidavit of probable cause, sworn to by Det. Edward Enriquez of the Philadelphia Police Department Special Victims Unit, alleges that on Feb. 25, Goldstein was in a third-floor bedroom with a 19-year-old woman at the AEPi fraternity house at 2000 N. Broad St. The affidavit says that Goldstein locked the door, pinned her down on the couch and tried to force sexual activity on her, despite the woman’s protestations. She was eventually able to kick Goldstein, the affidavit states, and run out of the fraternity house.
De Marco said that, as Goldstein’s trip to Israel approached, Goldstein asked de Marco if he could go. De Marco said that these kinds of cases often don’t progress past the initial stages and, at the time, as there were no open charges against Goldstein, de Marco advised him to go.
“He was never trying to flee,” de Marco said. “He was leaving on his lawyer’s advice.”
Ben Waxman, director of communications at the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, said that Goldstein was arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, who turned him over to Massachusetts State Police, who then turned him over to detectives in the Philly DA’s office.
“Despite knowing he was under investigation, he decided he was going to leave the country,” Waxman said. “That’s why he was grabbed before he left the country.”
Last month, Temple suspended the AEPi fraternity in light of several allegations, including sexual assault.
“We are, obviously, deeply troubled by the charges leveled at this young man,” said Jonathan Pierce, a past international president of the AEPi fraternity and the fraternity’s media spokesman, in a statement. “We believe in due process, but there is clearly no place for this behavior in our organization and, if proven true, I would expect the individual to be permanently expelled from our fraternity.”
Over the years, the fraternity has dealt with instances of sexual assault at other universities.
In 2016, for example, a former College of Charleston student, who was a 17-year-old freshman at the time, alleged that she was served drugs and alcohol and raped while being filmed by one of her attackers, as reported by The Post and Courier. Two years earlier, the Chicago Tribune reported that the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign had paid $77,000 to a former student who, in 2011, alleged she had been filmed and photographed while being sexually assaulted at the AEPi fraternity house. In 2014, students at Vanderbilt University in an online thread called “Girl that Ratted,” named and attacked a female student who said she had been sexually assaulted at a party at the AEPi fraternity house, according to WSMV.com.
Pierce said AEPi has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to sexual assault. The fraternity deals with sexual harassment on a case-by-case basis.
Pierce said that while AEPi’s policies on sexual assault and harassment have not changed, the fraternity has increased its focus on education and training around this topic over the years. This has included defining sexual assault and harassment and explaining both the law and the fraternity’s policies. The fraternity also has programming that discusses being “my brother’s keeper,” which touches on sexual assault.
However, Pierce noted, sexual assault is an issue that is much larger than just AEPi.
“It’s fair to say that this has been a problem on college campuses, and it’s been a problem in society for much longer than the 105 years that AEPi has been around,” Pierce said. “To the extent that we are able to help with the 10,000 young men who are members of AEPi at any one time, that we are able to work with them, then we’re doing the right thing, and we’re going to continue to do that.”
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