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Florida Gators QB arrested on charges related to child sexual abuse

“We are shocked and saddened to hear of the news involving Jalen Kitna,” Florida’s University Athletic Association said of the 19-year-old redshirt freshman. (Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP)

Jalen Kitna, a backup quarterback for the Florida Gators, was arrested Wednesday on five charges related to child sexual abuse. He was booked that afternoon into the Alachua County jail and, per reports, is scheduled for an initial hearing Thursday morning.

The university said Kitna, a 19-year-old redshirt freshman, was suspended indefinitely.

According to a news release from the Gainesville Police Department, a search warrant was served at Kitna’s residence by members of the GPD and the federal Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, following a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Police said that Kitna, 19, admitted to a GPD detective that he shared two images on the Discord platform of child sexual abuse material. Kitna was said to have expressed the belief that it was “legal” to have done so because he found the images online, but added he realized that, based on the reaction of the Discord recipient, he should not have shared them. He said, per police, that his Discord account was subsequently deactivated for violating its terms of service.

After electronic devices were seized as part of the warrant execution, police said, preliminary analysis revealed three additional images of child sexual abuse material. Kitna was arrested on two counts of distribution of child exploitation material and three counts of possession of child pornography.

“We are shocked and saddened to hear of the news involving Jalen Kitna,” Florida’s University Athletic Association said of the quarterback, who is the son of former NFL quarterback Jon Kitna. “These are extremely serious charges and the University of Florida and the UAA have zero tolerance for such behavior.”

On Thursday, a Discord spokesperson released a statement via email: “Discord has a zero-tolerance policy for child sexual abuse, which does not have a place on our platform or anywhere in society. We work relentlessly to find and remove this abhorrent content and take action including banning the users responsible and engaging with the proper authorities.”

After attending high school in Arizona and Texas as his father moved from a coaching job in Phoenix to one in Burleson, Tex., Kitna chose the Gators over programs such as Boston College, Georgia Tech, Liberty and Tennessee (per floridagators.com). In limited action over four games this season, Kitna completed 10 of 14 passes for 181 yards and a touchdown.

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