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University of Florida quarterback arrested and accused of sharing child sexual abuse images on Discord

NBC News 12/1/2022 Tim Stelloh
© Provided by NBC News

University of Florida quarterback Jalen Kitna was charged Wednesday with distributing child exploitation material, accused of sharing images of sexual abuse on the messaging platform Discord, authorities said.

Kitna, 19, faces two counts of the crime and three counts of possession of child pornography, Gainesville police said in a statement.

The school’s University Athletic Association said Kitna, a freshman, was suspended indefinitely from its football program.

“We are shocked and saddened to hear of the news involving Jalen Kitna,” the association said. “These are extremely serious charges and the University of Florida and the UAA have zero tolerance for such behavior.”

A university spokesman said the school had no further comment.

Kitna is the son of former NFL quarterback Jon Kitna, now the head football coach at Burleson High School in Texas. Jon Kitna didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children alerted local authorities Wednesday that someone shared an image depicting child abuse on Discord, the police department said.

Investigators linked the images to a home in Gainesville and found the two images were shared by an account that most likely belonged to Kitna, the department said.

In an interview with police, Kitna said he believed the pictures were legal because he found them online, the police department said. He told authorities he shouldn't have shared them based on the reaction of the user he shared them with, it said.

Kitna said his account was deactivated for violating the platform's terms of service, police said.

A preliminary analysis of Kitna's devices found three other images depicting child sexual abuse, according to the police department.

Kitna remained in custody Wednesday, court records show. It wasn't immediately clear whether he has a lawyer to speak on his behalf.

Discord didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com

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