Two women who accused a former Temple University fraternity president of forcing or trying to force them into sex acts in his frat house bedroom are “making something out of nothing,” the man’s attorney told a Philadelphia jury Friday.
One of the women, then a Temple junior, used Ari Goldstein as her “sex boy,” attorney Perry de Marco Sr. told a packed courtroom in his closing argument. “We know in the real world, ‘no, no’ has many shades of gray,” said de Marco, who contended that the woman was accustomed to having rough sex with Goldstein.
But Assistant District Attorney Zachary Wynkoop told the panel of eight women and four men that the two women — who didn’t know each other — were “unwavering” in their accounts over the last two years, and that as Temple students they had a lot to lose by speaking to authorities.
“When they didn’t want sex, they said, ‘No,’” Wynkoop said of the women’s encounters with Goldstein. “They said, ‘No.’ They said it over and over again.” There was “no shade of gray” in that word, the prosecutor said.
The women sat together in the second row of the gallery during the arguments. Both had testified during the trial at the Stout Center for Criminal Justice, as had friends in whom they allegedly confided after their encounters. The Inquirer does not identify sexual assault victims without their permission.
Jurors deliberated for two hours Friday afternoon without reaching a verdict, and then were dismissed for the day by Common Pleas Court Judge Timika Lane. They will resume deliberations Tuesday.
Goldstein, 23, of Wrightstown, Bucks County, a former president of Temple’s Alpha Epsilon Pi chapter, is charged with sexual assault, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, and indecent assault in connection with a November 2017 incident with the then-Temple junior, who was a member of the fraternity’s sister sorority and a friend of Goldstein’s.
He is separately charged with attempted sexual assault, attempted involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, and indecent assault in connection with a February 2018 encounter in his bedroom with a woman who was a Temple freshman at the time.
Goldstein, who has been free on bail, has had numerous friends and relatives in court to support him.
Throughout the three-day trial, both attorneys painted different pictures of what they said had transpired between Goldstein and the women.
Goldstein did not take the stand, but his sister, a childhood friend, and his family doctor testified on his behalf as character witnesses.
De Marco contended in his closing argument that the accusers were part of college life that was full of “rampant sex, drug use, and endless drinking." The Temple junior “only used [Goldstein] for sex,” didn’t want to date him, and was “pursuing Ari that night,” the attorney said.
De Marco told jurors that the woman wanted to give Goldstein oral sex that night “so he would calm down” and she could then leave.
The freshman, de Marco said, went up to Goldstein’s bedroom at the frat house at 2000 N. Broad St. after being invited there to smoke marijuana. Although she expected other people to be there, she ended up on his couch and the two engaged in various sexual positions, he said. Not until the trial, he said, did she testify that Goldstein “bit my left breast,” pointing out that she previously told authorities he “kissed” her breast.
“If someone bit my nipple, I’d whack the daylights out of him,” de Marco told jurors.
Both women had the ability to leave Goldstein’s bedroom but did not, nor did they immediately go to authorities, the lawyer said.
Wynkoop, however, told jurors that the women were “courageous” for stepping forward, even though months later and at great personal cost. They were speaking out against the president “of the most popular fraternity on campus,” he said.
The woman who was a junior had been a friend of Goldstein’s for three years and trusted him, the prosecutor said. She testified during the trial that on a November 2017 night, things didn’t get “more aggressive,” but “aggressive,” the prosecutor said, saying that Goldstein pressed his arm on her collarbone and put his fingers down her throat.
And Goldstein kept forcing her to give him oral sex even though she fought back and “kept saying, ‘No,’” Wynkoop said.
After the freshman went to Goldstein’s room on Feb. 25, 2018, Goldstein, a former high school wrestler “twice her size, had her pinned to the couch” and thrust his hips toward her mouth, even though she repeated, “No,” and screamed, Wynkoop said. She fought him and got away, the prosecutor said.
“He wanted what he wanted and he was going to take it,” Wynkoop said.
Temple suspended Goldstein’s fraternity in April 2018, after the freshman reported her allegations to police.