Photo: Jalen Kitna; alex shepherd
UPDATE: Florida Gators redshirt freshman quarterback Jalen Kitna made his first appearance in Alachua County court Thursday after his arrest Wednesday on five preliminary counts related to possession and distribution of child pornography.
Kitna appeared via video feed from the Alachua County Jail. His parents, Jon and Jennifer Kitna, and his pastor were present in court.
According to WUFT-Gainesville, Kitna’s bond was set at $80,000 despite pleas from her attorney, Caleb Kenyon, to release Kitna without bail, saying no individual was directly victimized by Kitna’s alleged actions.
Kitna previously admitted to sharing two images containing child sexual abuse material on the social media website Discord in an interview with Gainesville Police Department Detective Donna Montague. A search warrant by Kitna carried out on Wednesday led to the discovery of three additional images of child sexual abuse material in her possession during a preliminary scan of Kitna’s electronic devices.
Alachua County Court Judge Meshon T. Rawls denied Kenyon’s request and ordered Kitna not to use the Internet or have any unsupervised contact with minors.
If convicted of the charges – the state’s attorney’s office will determine whether or not to file a formal criminal complaint in the coming weeks, after his preliminary charges included three counts of possession of pornography juvenile and two counts of child exploitation material distribution – Kitna faces up to 45 years in prison and a $35,000 fine.
Kitna was dressed in a dark green sleeveless dress that indicates he was on suicide watch when he appeared, officials told WUFT.
UPDATE: Florida Gators redshirt freshman quarterback Jalen Kitna was charged Wednesday with three counts of possession of child pornography and two counts of distributing child exploitation materials, each of which are second-degree felonies, according to a statement from the Gainesville Police Department.
According to the police statement, a search warrant was served at Kitna’s residence in Gainesville on Wednesday morning after receiving a cyber tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Further investigation by Gainesville Police Department Detective Donna Montague uncovered two images containing child sexual abuse material shared on social media website Discord from Kitna’s address. The investigation also revealed that the likely holder of the Discord account was Kitna.
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Kitna’s electronic devices were seized as part of the search warrant. Three additional images of child sexual abuse material were discovered during a preliminary scan of these devices.
UF released the following statement Wednesday afternoon, acknowledging that Kitna has been suspended from the program indefinitely.
“We are shocked and saddened to hear the news regarding Jalen Kitna. These are extremely serious charges and the University of Florida and UAA have zero tolerance for such behavior.
“Jalen has been indefinitely suspended from the football program.”
Florida Gators first-year quarterback in red shirt Jalen Kitna was incarcerated at the Alachua County Jail at 3:20 p.m. ET on Wednesday, November 30.
Charges were not immediately made available for Kitna’s arrest.
Kitna, the son of the former NFL quarterback Jon Kitnasigned with Florida as a member of the 2021 recruiting class. He did not take the field in his true first year, but appeared as the starting flagger’s backup. Anthony Richardson in the 2022 season, in which he played in four games and completed 10 of 14 passes for 181 yards and a touchdown.
Kitna notably came on at a crucial moment in the first half against FSU when Richardson was sidelined for a few games with injury.
The save kept the drive alive in the absence of Richardson – although he didn’t register an assist – as he was on the pitch for two third conversions and landed a six-yard run to push the ball in the red zone. That set up a touchdown pass on Richardson’s return to take a 14-7 first-quarter lead.
As a result, the Burleson (Texas) high school product was expected to at least compete for a starting spot this offseason, should Richardson choose to deviate from the schedule for the NFL Draft, alongside the redshirt sophomore. Jack Miller IIIreal freshman Max Brownfreshman incoming quarterback Jaden Rashad and a potential transfer portal addition.
This story will be updated as new details emerge.
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