Richard Koca, charity founder busted for child sex assault: Not guilty plea, claimed confession

richard koca mug shot cropped.jpg
Big photos below.
Update: Yesterday, Richard Koca, who co-founded StandUp for Kids, a homeless-youth charity, pleaded not guilty to 22 counts of sexual assault on a child. However, prosecutors say they have a recording of Koca confessing. We've got details about the allegations and Koca's co-creation, which has now stripped all mentions of him from its website.

As we detail in our original coverage, on view below in its entirety, StandUp For Kids, founded in 1990, sends outreach counselors into the street in an effort to assist homeless youth. As of last September, when Koca was arrested, the organization had branches in 37 cities, but that number has risen to 45, according to its online "by the numbers" page. In a 2002 bio, Koca was quoted as saying, "This isn't about money. It's about caring!" He added, "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!"

richard koca navy.jpg
Koca during his years in the Navy.
Prior to his StandUp For Kids work, Koca spent thirty years in the military, where he was 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 orphanage while spending time in England. He was also part of Explorer scout programs in San Diego.

As such, the Aurora Police Department announced that it was actively looking for additional victims after Koca, age seventy, was arrested on September 15 for allegedly assaulting a child said to be under his supervision. But there was no mention of other kids at yesterday's arraignment, suggesting that no other evidence of wrongdoing has surfaced since Koca was taken into custody.

Koca's not-guilty plea seemingly contradicts with an in-court reference by an Arapahoe County prosecutor to a "tape-recorded confession." But there's no question Koca continues to have a great many defenders. Our original posts attracted a slew of comments from individuals helped by StandUp For Kids over the years. Here's one example:

I met Rick Koca many many years ago and I still credit him for one of the main reasons that I am alive today. He saved me. Saved me from drugs. Saved me from the streets. Saved me from myself. He helped shaped me into the person that I am today. There is just no way that these horrendous accusations can be true. Rick only ever wanted to help kids and I seriously doubt he just woke up one day and decided that he was going to be a pedophile. There was never any "pattern of behavior." No warning signs. Nothing to suggest that he would ever hurt one of us. I was abused sexually by my uncle when I was little. I was physically, mentally, and emotionally abused by my mother. I know the signs of abuse as do many of the "street kids" that Rick helped. That he saved. Coming from abuse like we did ensures that we can spot an abuser a mile away and had Rick been that type of person one of us sure as heck would have known it. Rick stood up for me and so many of my friends so we are here to stand up for him. It makes me sick how people who don't even know him have already prejudge him. They have already condemned them in their living rooms. The media has had a hand in that. I am here to tell all of you that Rick is innocent. I am alive today because of this man. I have a loving husband and 4 wonderful children because this man saved me. I am a college student because this man saw to it that I got myself together. He is my friend. He is my confidant. He is just amazing person who obviously put himself out there and someone decided to take advantage of him in this horrific way. All of us former street kids love you Rick!!! We are here for you no matter what!
Contrasting comments like this one is the following anecdote from a longer post:
I volunteered for Mr. Koca a bit between 2008 and 2010. I met his daughters and grand daughters as well. I have to say, he was sort of inappropriately flirty with me when training, but I was not a kid; I was in my thirties. Because of that, I really didn't trust him: he was unprofessional and ignored my boundaries. I've met so many men like that, I didn't think much of it. I just kept my distance and reserved my trust.
Continue for more about Richard Koca, including photos and videos.


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6 comments
jess4ever
jess4ever

I volunteered with SUFK for over 8 years. The work done on the street deserves much more respect than it’s ever given (especially in this and Westword's previous article).  Its despicable how negatively the author and this commenter paints the good work done for kids that most people don't give a sideways glance to (or would rather spit at!).  But like Rick said, we don't do it for money. We do it for the kids. Some of us were those kids once, and feel compelled to give back. Some of us feel blessed that we have all we do. Wow!! What a novel concept in today's world!  Alas, it is the media that causes the death of many an intelligent conversation and educates the pitiful masses-- to the detriment and despite our academic, democratic and judicial efforts to be a fair and just nation. It’s sad how we let less than ten media sources dominate our news sources and control our thinking.  We are just eating up what the 1% serves us like lab rats. Rick's accuser is just another misguided young person craving attention and I am devastated they found this to be the best route to get it. What is most disappointing is that our society is just too media struck to even consider this. Justice will prevail. Stay tuned Mr. Death Breath

jess4ever
jess4ever

Personally, I would say never trust anyone with a screen name of Death Breath. Having worked with Mr. Koca for several years as a young attractive and impressionable youth, I can say with most assured conviction that he did not do this, and I stand firmly behind his innocence. I surmise that this commenter is just one of the many self-centered people in the world who, because they don't feel compelled to help children themselves (much less anyone else in the world), spew lies to distract from their own egocentric existence. Your absurd musing counld be countered with the statement that those who go into the mental health profession do so because they themselves are in need of mental health assistance.

DeathBreath
DeathBreath

After working as a mental health professional within the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for over 22 years, I feel I have plenty of experience to say this.  "Never ever trust someone with a burning desire to work with youth"  Frequently, sex offenders hide in plain sight.  John Wayne Gacy is a great example.  Or, if you want more recent evidence, look to the statistics associated with the number of officers arrested for having inappropriate relationships with minors within the Explorer program.  Recently, an officer was arrested in Bell County, Killeen, Texas for messing with kids.  Don't trust people with your children.  If someone is too close to your child, there may be a reason.  Normal adults don't want to invite children over for a "sleepover", particularly when there are no other children present.  Use your common sense. 

Sadness
Sadness

@jess4ever I find it crazy when people stand up for someone's innocence when a) they have no idea what really went down. b)You can appear to be a great person and be terrible. c) this is awful for the child if s/he was victimized and you are taking his side BLINDLY simply because you never saw anything out of character.

That said, i had the "joy" of being in this dudes presence for about a week. I was about 22 and he came off very creepy and said some inappropriate things to me. Obviously not a kid but I was a young girl and he's an old man. I honestly never suspected him of child abuse but I knew something was off about him to be hitting on a girl that is young enough to be his daughter.   It was for charity work and he was very unprofessional in that aspect. I see a few others have noted this experience as well on another pages. So I guess some were lucky to not be considered a potential victim and he obviously had a type. Obviously I was not a child but if he's willing to go that young I would not be surprised if he took it further when young girls don't give in to his advances. It's much easier to victimize a child, someone that won't speak up or know what is happening.

Considering he has a 250K bond AND CONFESSED. It's pretty safe to say he is guilty. An innocent man with no strong case against him with neither confess nor have such a high bond. That said I feel sorry for him also as he obviously had some dark hidden issues to work out and instead of controlling himself/seeking help, now both his life and a young child's life are ruined.  Perhaps even more, time will tell. I would love for him to be innocent but I doubt that is really the case. So yes, justice will be served, aka likely him dying in a cell.

Sadness
Sadness

@DeathBreath I do agree with this, it's not surprising that child molesters seek out jobs that will not only put them in a position of power and trust, but one near children.

DeathBreath
DeathBreath

@Sadness @DeathBreath   Yes, I know; however, it surprises me how people, smart people, are still charmed by "high verbal" psychopaths who happened to like kids.  It speaks about the power of charm most pedophiles possess.  They are damn good at this.  Sadly, Christians seem to be some of the easiest targets for this activity. 

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