Former Florida Gators quarterback Jalen Kitna broke his silence one month after his child pornography charges were dropped.
“Out of respect to the legal process I have chosen to remain silent the last 8 months,” Kitna said Friday in a statement obtained by TMZ.
“Knowing the accusations levied against me as a teenager were not accurate and would be proven to be not true. The extensive 6 month long investigation brought the prosecution to the conclusion I knew all along — this was not a child pornography case.”
Gainesville police arrested Kitna, the son of retired NFL quarterback Jon Kitna, on Nov. 30 when they received a tip that a Discord user shared an explicit photo of prepubescent girls on the platform.
He faced three counts of possession of child pornography and two counts of distribution of child exploitation material, the outlet reported at the time.
The then 19-year-old said he cooperated with detectives and provided his passwords as they investigated the tip. “They told me an image I shared online was potentially of an underage female,” Kitna explained.
“I was shocked, because I had found it on an easily accessible, legal site, and I was never looking for illegal material.” “The photo included only a portion of the female body, I had no reason to believe the photo might be illegal. Regardless, they arrested me on suspicion of possessing child pornography. As they put me in handcuffs I tried to process everything. It sounded like they believed I searched out and shared illegal pictures, but I knew that I had not,” he added.
Kitna hoped he would be exonerated by the public eye, but says he is receiving judgment from people only reading the original reports. Kitna reached an agreement with Florida prosecutors on July 5.
He plead no contest to one count of misdemeanor breach of the peace, disorderly conduct, which is not an admission of guilt.“My family and I emphatically believe child pornography should not exist in our world,” he said. “I did not commit a crime of this nature. The facts of the investigation and the resolution show this. I hope this statement will bring clarity to all those who care to know the truth.”
Kitna was kicked off the Florida Gators days after his arrest and handed a campus ban, which he says the school lifted following his case in court. In his statement, Kitna said all of his devices confiscated by investigators were returned to him after forensic testing was used and found “no other images that were even questionable: No photos, no videos, no chats, no searches for inappropriate material, not one illegal activity.”Kitna revealed he had to undergo an extensive psychosexual evaluation, which is an assessment used in cases involving sexual misconduct to evaluate a client’s social and sexual history.
The evaluation, conducted by a doctor with over 40 years of experience revealed Kitna had no “deviant characteristics, had normal interests as a teenager, and I’m in the lowest possible percentile for likelihood to commit a crime,” according to Kitna.
“I know I did not commit the crime people assumed and maybe believed. I have learned the lesson of how quickly naive decisions can lead to catastrophic consequences,” the statement said. “I’m sorry my family and friends have had to go through this unimaginable 8 months, their love and support throughout has been humbling and encouraging.”
Kitna claimed prosecutors insisted on a misdemeanor charge rather than dropping them entirely. The former college athlete said he took the plea deal as it was the best option for him to return to normal life as a student with the possibility of reviving his football career.
“The certainty of the plea, with no real consequences, is the best way to help me move forward to pursue a college degree, a football career, and my life as a now 20-year-old,” he added.