January 28, 2023

Florida backup quarterback Jalen Kitna was released from jail on $80,000 bail on Thursday, a day after he was arrested on five child pornography charges that police said included images of a man having sex with a young girl.

Judge Meshon Rawls set bail and ordered Kitna’s conditions of release not to have contact with unsupervised minors and not to have internet access.

Kitna sobbed into his hands as his parents, including former NFL quarterback Jon Kitna, addressed the court during a 75-minute performance. Jalen Kitna was in Alachua County Jail and on closed circuit when Jon and Jennifer Kitna stepped to a courtroom dais and promised to supervise their 19-year-old son at home in Burleson, Texas.

Jon Kitna repeatedly tapped his feet and held Jennifer’s hand during their son’s first trial. Jalen Kitna wore a green smock – different from the striped trousers and tops worn by other inmates – which is usually given to those under close scrutiny due to concerns about their well-being. His booking photo showed him in normal prison attire.

“He has a wonderful family. He has good family support. He will be well taken care of,” one of Kitna’s lawyers, Caleb Kenyon, said outside the courthouse.

University of Florida backup quarterback Jalen Kitna, 19, appeared in court Thursday at the Alachua County Jail, a day after he was arrested on child pornography charges. He was eventually released after appearing in court on $80,000 bond

The Gainesville Police Department released Kitna’s arrest report on Thursday, detailing graphically the charges filed against the now-suspended football player.

The investigation began in June with a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children about the sharing of child pornography images on the social media platform Discord. The investigation led authorities to Kitna.

Kitna shared two images of an adolescent girl, police said in the report, adding that the phrase “so young junior” was written on both photos. Kitna told a detective he thought they were legal because he found them online.

When police searched Kitna’s phone, they found three more images of two naked teenage girls in the shower, according to the report. Those three images were saved to his mobile phone last December, police said. The report did not estimate the girls’ ages.

Kenyon, the attorney, argued that Kitna should be released without bail and suggested that those three images could be considered child erotica rather than child pornography.

Kitna appeared in four games this season for the Florida Gators, completing 10 of 14 passes for 181 yards and a touchdown

According to the arrest report, Kitna also told police that he was in other message groups on at least one other social media platform that spread similar material.

Discord had previously deactivated Kitna’s account due to a terms of service violation, police said.

“Discord has a zero-tolerance policy for child sexual abuse, which has no place on our platform or anywhere in society,” a Discord spokesperson said in a statement. “We are working relentlessly to find and remove this abhorrent content and take action, including banning responsible users and engaging appropriate authorities.”

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Two of the five arrest charges, which have yet to be formalized by the state’s attorney’s office, are second-degree felonies that can carry up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. The other three are third-degree felonies.

Jalen Kitna is the son of ex-Seahawks, Bengals, Lions and Cowboys quarterback Jon Kitna. Pictured: John Kitna watches from the sidelines during a 2003 Steelers vs. Bengals game

Kitna is also represented by Gainesville attorney Ron Kozlowski and noted Jacksonville attorney Hank Coxe, who has a history of taking cases involving high-profile athletes.

The University of Florida Athletic Association said it was “shocked and saddened” by the news.

“These are extremely serious allegations and the University of Florida and the UAA will not tolerate such behavior.”

Florida has indefinitely suspended Kitna from its football program. The 19-year-old played in four games this season as a freshman for the Gators, completing 10 of his 14 passes for 181 yards and a touchdown.

Jon Kitna played 14 seasons in the NFL with Seattle, Cincinnati, Detroit and Dallas. He started 124 games and is now a high school coach in Burleson, just south of Fort Worth.