Crime

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

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Update: Original post, 8:09 a.m. September 18: At this writing, the web home of StandUp For Kids, an organization devoted to helping homeless youth, is down -- and no wonder. Richard Koca, the 69-year-old co-founder of the organization, has been arrested in Aurora on charges related to child-sex-assault allegations. But we've managed to grab a screen capture from the site and a video showing Koca touting the group. See them below.

The scoop on Koca's arrest comes courtesy of 7News, which reports that he's currently behind bars on seven counts of sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust involving a pattern of abuse. The period during which the crimes are said to have taken place stretches from August 2009 to August 2012.

So...who's Richard Koca? Here's a StandUp For Kids bio circa 2002, when he was listed as a founder and chief executive officer:

Mr. Koca is a retired naval officer. Rick joined the Navy at the age of 17, and during the next 30 years was promoted 13 times through 17 pay grades. A highly decorated naval officer, Rick was awarded the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, two Joint Service Commendation Medals, two Navy Commendation Medals, three Navy Achievement Medals, as well as numerous service awards and commendations.

In 1990, with the help of several friends, STANDUP FOR KIDS outreach counselors began walking the streets touching base with the street kids. Now, more than twelve years later, STANDUP FOR KIDS has grown to more than twenty-eight programs in thirteen states.

Now, after more than thirteen years of walking the streets, he can't think of a place that he would rather be. There have been many times when he just wanted to turn his back on it all. He thought it would help relieve the pain he was seeing in the kids on the streets. The pain of his first street kid who said he was HIV positive, the first 12-year-old living in a dumpster, his first youth heroin addict, a 13-year-old prostitute, the first baby living in a cave, and his first 17-year-old who died as a result of AIDS.

Rick said, "this isn't about money, it's about caring!" "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"!

Now, this nationally acclaimed program has been recognized on three separate occasions by the White House, the U.S. Justice Department, American Express, the Governor's Office in Arizona twice, the Secretary of State of Colorado, and awarded the prestigious JCPenney Golden Rule Award. Rick has been awarded the George Washington Honor Award for his work with homeless and street kids; the Channel 10 Leadership Award, and was recognized as a finalist for the Edward A. Smith Award for Excellence in Nonprofit Leadership. Rick lives in San Diego and has 3 children and 7 grandchildren in Denver, Colorado.

As for the organization itself, its website once made prominent mention of Koca -- although 7News notes that it no longer does so. However, we've grabbed a look at the previous page.

Continue to see the StandUp For Kids screen capture, plus videos featuring Richard Koca.

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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