Reader: Richard Koca, StandUp For Kids founder, never acted inappropriately with me

Richard Koca.
This week, StandUp For Kids founder Richard Koca was arrested on suspicion of child-sexual assault. Given Koca's devotion to working with homeless youth, he had plenty of access to kids over the years, as police note. But one reader says Koca never took advantage of her, despite having many opportunities to do so if he'd wanted.

fuzzygrrl writes:

I am standing up for Rick just as he stood up for me as a child. I met Rick with Stand-Up when I was 13 years old. I knew saw him on a weekly basis for while I was a homeless child for 6 years. I was an attractive young female (aged 13-19) who had been "alone" with Rick more times then I can remember. He NEVER once made any sort of inappropriate move, gesture, or comment toward me or anyone I have ever known. All of the street kids I grew up with had all been abused, either physically, emotionally, and/or sexually. Once there are enough victims grouped together like that you tend to look out for each other, and also become very close and know each others pain and stories. An abused child can see the abuse in another child in a matter of seconds. We would have seen or heard of something like this. If Rick was a "Bad Man" we would have smelled it on him. This is a horrible end for a man who did so many amazing things, not only for me, but for every homeless child I have ever met! I am an amazingly successful person today because of Rick and the countless other selfless volunteers of Stand Up. And as a side note to any journalists who may be reading this... There is another side to this story, our side. Print it please. Street kids that have been positively impacted by Rick are everywhere in this country.

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4 comments
julieakramer
julieakramer

I have personally known Rick for over a decade. He is one of the kindest, most compassionate, and genuinely GOOD human beings I have ever met. My first thought upon hearing the heinous crimes Rick has been accused  was "someone must have been trying to extort money out of him". In my mind there is absolutely no possible way these charges could be true. I do not know the details of the charges he is facing, however I know Rick very well, and he is NOT a sexual predator. Rick dedicated his entire life to helping homeless youth survive and pull themselves off of the streets. He helped spread awareness about homeless teenagers and rape, working day and night to keep kids all over the country safe. This was his life’s passion. He has a heart of gold, and I am nothing short of heartbroken that one (or more) people would destroy this amazing man's life with such insane allegations. I have received a flood of phone calls and messages since this story broke, all from my friends who knew Rick. These friends are all people I met at Stand up for kids, a San Diego homeless youth center I visited during a particularly dark period of my life. I have probably talked to two dozen people regarding Rick, and let me tell you this: not a single person thought for one second this could possibly be true. Our immediate group response was “how can we help him?.” None of us have a shadow of doubt in our minds-and as former street kids we are a pretty cynical breed. I’ve seen my friends bury long-standing personal grudges which each other, just to talk about Rick and discuss how we can help him. The reason why is…well 95% of us are not street kids anymore. We have houses, jobs, self-esteem, sobriety, and all the hope in the world now, because Rick helped us find ourselves. He believed in us when no one else did. He changed our lives so much. Rick’s vision, Stand Up for Kids, was more than a drop in center. Sure, they gave us clothes, food and toiletries. We got to pick through donated clothes and watch tv. That was the second best thing about Stand Up. The best part was Rick, the counselors and staff. They treated us like we were family, for a few hours every weekday, and gave us the emotional support we needed and the strength to keep forging on with hope for our future. We had all the love in the world when we were at the Center. AND IT WAS IN NO WAY SEXUAL. Rick is a champion. He has served our country, abroad and at home, his entire life. I am honored to know Rick, and nothing short of videotape evidence could ever make me believe these lies. I have faith that the truth will be made public, and the people who turned their back on Rick over this absurdity will be eternally ashamed that they turned their back on Rick during his most undeserved darkest hour.

 

JamieRandolph
JamieRandolph like.author.displayName 1 Like

I can also vouch that Rick is really a "Stand Up" guy who has helped not only myself but countless others!! These accusations are FALSE!! I am proud to call Rick my friend! I am off of the streets and drugs because of that man, and I will forever be grateful to him! Never was he inappropriate with me in the slightest.

blackroseMD1
blackroseMD1 like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

I stand behind what fuzzygrrl says. I met Rick when I was 15 years old and living on the streets of San Diego. I like to think I was an attractive young man back then, and never once did he so much as make an inappropriate comment or make me feel uncomfortable. He worked with me on an almost daily basis for 6 years, until I was 21, helping to get me food and clothes and an ID for me to get a job. He also paid for the Greyhound ticket, out of his own pocket, that got me off the streets for good. As fuzzygrrl says, a lot of us were victims of stuff like this, and we would have sniffed out a pedophile. Rick didn't do this, no matter what the media and internet commenters might want people to believe. 

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