Florida Gators Quarterback Jalen Kitna, 19, Charged with Possession of Child Pornography

http://asosite.alachuasheriff.org/ASOInmateLookup.aspx?lname=KITNA&fname=JALEN ASO22MNI020204 JALEN KITNA
http://asosite.alachuasheriff.org/ASOInmateLookup.aspx?lname=KITNA&fname=JALEN ASO22MNI020204 JALEN KITNA

Alachua County Sheriff's Office

The quarterback for the University of Florida is in custody after authorities say he shared child pornography images through a social platform.

Jalen Kitna, 19, was arrested on Wednesday when the Gainesville Police Department and the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Division executed a warrant, police said in a news release shared on Facebook.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children tipped police "that a Discord user distributed an image of child sexual abuse material (CSAM) through their platform," per the release. "Further investigation, by Gainesville Police Department Detective Montague, revealed that two images were shared, via Discord."

Authorities' probe led them to a local address and "revealed that the probable Discord account holder was Jalen Kitna."

Detective Donna Montague then reached out to Kitna and spoke to him.

"Kitna stated that he remembered sharing the two images (CSAM) but believed them to be 'legal,' since he found them online," GPD said. "Kitna advised that he realized he should not have shared those two images, based on the reaction from the other Discord user that he shared them with."

According to the GPD, Kitna said his Discord account was later pulled, which led him to believe he had been reported. He then was told via an email from Discord "that his account was deactivated due to violation of the terms of service," police said.

When conducting the search warrant, authorities said they took Kitna's electronic devices and found three more images related to child sexual abuse in a "preliminary analysis."

He was taken into custody on two counts of distribution of child exploitation material and three counts of possession of child pornography.

"The Gainesville Police Department wants parents to be aware that children are solicited and exploited through social networking applications," officers said in the release. "These social networking applications, like Discord, Facebook, KiK, Snapchat, TikTok and Tagged are also used to share images and videos which depict young children being sexually abused. Please be vigilant and aware of any social networking platforms your children may access."

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Those with questions or concerns are encouraged to call or email Detective Montague at (352) 393-7730 or montagueda@cityofgainesville.org. The GDP also offered resources for parents and guardians via the NCMEC website.

The GDP did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

Per the Florida Gators website, Kitna is a redshirt freshman who went to Burleson High School in Texas. He played in four games this season, however, did not play in any last season.

PEOPLE reached out to the University of Florida's Athletic Association but did not immediately hear back.

The association said in a statement per Gainesville's ABC affiliate WCJB, "We are shocked and saddened to hear of the news involving Jalen Kitna. These are extremely serious charges and the University of Florida and the UAA have zero tolerance for such behavior. Jalen has been suspended indefinitely from the football program."

It's not clear if Kitna has a lawyer who can comment on his behalf.