Crime

StandUp For Kids founder Richard Koca's child-sex-assault bust: Maybe more victims, cops fear

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According to the Aurora Police Department, Koca was taken into custody September 15 on a felony arrest warrant for sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust in relation to a child he was "supervising" in Aurora. His original bond was set at $100,000, but that total was subsequently bumped up to $250,000. The juvenile in question has not been identified, owing to age.

The investigation began a couple of weeks prior to the bust, the APD notes, with only one underage victim identified to date. However, investigators are concerned about the possibility of more victims given Koca's "extensive contact over the past several decades with persons under the age of eighteen through his work with several nonprofit organizations that primarily serve children," a release stresses.

As we detail below, StandUp For Kids, founded in 1990, sends outreach counselors into the street in an effort to assist homeless youth. The organization currently has branches in 37 cities, and in a 2002 bio, Koca is quoted as saying, "This isn't about money. It's about caring!" He adds, "What we've accomplished has no price tag. We know we've made the difference in the lives of thousands of kids. I would have paid that price for one!"

In addition to his StandUp For Kids work, the APD points out that Koca, a retired naval officer who spent thirty years in the military, has been stationed in or visited a wide array of locations in the U.S., plus Panama, Venezuela, Italy and England. While in the first country, he was also a Scout Master for a Boy Scouts of America program, and he volunteered in an as-yet-unidentified orphanage while spending time in England. He was also part of Explorer scout programs in San Diego.

Not difficult to suss out why Aurora reps are mentioning his proximity to kids in these far-flung spots -- nor why the department has released the photo seen here of the Koca during his Navy days. Investigators are actively encouraging anyone else who may have been victimized to contact Crimes Against Children Unit Detective Robert Friel at 303-739-6185.

Meanwhile, StandUp For Kids interim national director Justine Madison issued the following statement:

StandUp For Kids, Inc. (SUFK) is aware of the charges and recent arrest of Rick Koca. Mr. Koca retired from his position as the CEO of SUFK in June, 2010. As CEO of the organization, Mr. Koca was primarily responsible for oversight of SUFK's national office. Between August 2010 and August 2011, Mr. Koca assisted with the transition to the new CEO. Mr. Koca served on the board of directors of SUFK from inception until September 17, 2012 when the board learned of the arrest and charges. The organization has no further information at this time about the arrest or charges against Mr. Koca other than the reports distributed by media outlets. SUFK has not been contacted by law enforcement regarding Mr. Koca, however, if contacted, the organization intends to cooperate fully.
As you can see, Madison's statement emphasizes that Koca, 69, hasn't been directly working with kids since at least the time of his retirement as CEO in mid-2010. However, the Aurora Police maintain that the crimes for which Koca has been charged may have taken place as early as August 2009. Moreover, an AARP video on view below shows Koca taking a very active role in street-side operations despite his elevated title.

Here's a larger look at Koca's newly issued booking photo.

Continue reading for our previous coverage of Richard Koca's arrest, including a video depicting him helping kids on the street.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts