Richard Koca, founder of national non-profit for at-risk kids arrested on child sex assault charges

StandUp for Kids founder arrested in Aurora

AURORA, Colo. - Richard Koca Sr., the founder of StandUp for Kids, a national group for at-risk and homeless children, was arrested Saturday in Aurora on child sexual assault charges, 7NEWS has learned.

The 69-year-old Koca faces seven felony counts of sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust involving a pattern of abuse, according to an Arapahoe County Court case summary. The court record indicates the alleged abuse began in August 2009 and continued into 2012.

Aurora police spokeswoman Sgt. Cassidee Carlson said Koca was arrested Saturday on a felony arrant for sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust for acts with a child he was supervising in Aurora.

Carlson said the investigation, which began on Aug. 29, has identified a single juvenile victim.

However, police said that because of Koca’s extensive contact over the past several decades with juveniles through his work with several non-profit organizations that primarily serve children, there are concerns that there may be additional victims.

"We're aware of the fact that there might be other victims out there. We're encouraging them to come forward," Carlson said.

An archived version of the StandUp for Kids website includes Koca’s message about helping homeless youth and a message from the founder.

The recent website has no mention of the founder.  After 7NEWS reporter Amanda Kost contacted the national headquarters for StandUp For Kids, the website was taken down.

StandUp for Kids has reported involvement with programs nationwide in 37 cities, including Denver.

Aurora Police confirmed Koca’s arrest on suspicion of child sexual assault. He made his first court appearance Monday in Arapahoe County.

Koca has volunteered with organizations to help children worldwide.  He was a Scout Master for the Boy Scouts of America in Panama, volunteer at an orphanage in England, and involved in Explorer scout programs in San Diego, California.

"He placed himself in situations where there were youth around with the façade that he was doing good," Carlson said.

Koca founded Standup for Kids in San Diego in 1990.

The nonprofit, which is now based in Atlanta, issued a statement Tuesday on the founder's arrest.

Justine Madison, the organization's interim national director, said Standup for Kids – or SUFK -- has not been contacted by law enforcement about Koca.

"However, if contacted, the organization intends to cooperate fully," Madison said.

The statement said Koca retired from his position as SUFK's chief executive officer in June 2010. Koca continued to serve on the organization's board of directors until his arrest, Madison said.

After 7NEWS starting digging for arrest documents, the case summary was removed from CoCourts.com, the Colorado court records website, and the court documents were sealed.

Koca made his first court appearance Monday in Arapahoe County. He is being held in the Arapahoe County Jail on $250,000 bond.

7NEWS checked the status of StandUp for Kids with the Colorado Secretary of State and discovered the organization has been suspended for failing to register with the state.  A spokesperson with the Secretary of State's office said the suspension means StandUp for Kids is not authorized to collect donations in Colorado.

If you have a news tip, or follow-up to this story, email me. You can also connect with me on Facebook or through Twitter @amandakost

 

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