Florida Gators coach Billy Napier opens up about arrest of Jalen Kitna on child porn charges

Napier: ‘It’s a sad, tragic event for all the people involved’

Florida head coach Billy Napier looks up at the monitor during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Georgia Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux) (John Raoux, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Florida head coach Billy Napier on Thursday spoke about the arrest of backup quarterback Jalen Kitna on child pornography charges, according to News 6 partner WJXT.

According to WCJB, Napier held a virtual news conference, during which he was asked how he was helping the Gators players and staff members following the incident.

“Obviously, it’s a sad, tragic event for all the people involved here. I think, really trying to help all the people involved. You know, obviously, Jalen is going to have to move forward. But it’s a challenge — and it’s one that I appreciate our leadership, and certainly, we’ve done everything we can do to help our players and staff,” Napier said. “We are turning the page and moving forward.”

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Napier was also asked about when he found out about the allegations against Kitna, who Florida has since formally dismissed from the team.

“We found out mid-morning, the day that it all went down — literally as it was happening,” he responded.

Kitna, 19, was arrested last week on two charges of distribution of child exploitation material and three charges of possession of child pornography.

Authorities said the investigation began in June with a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children into images of child pornography being shared on the social media platform Discord, and the investigation led authorities to Kitna.

The Gainesville Police Department released Kitna’s arrest report the day after he was taken into custody on Nov. 30, providing graphic details about the complaints filed against him.

Jalen Kitna is accused of possessing and distributing child pornography. (Alachua County Jail/Getty Images)

Police said Kitna shared two images of young girls being sexually abused via the social media platform Discord, including one of a man having sex with a young girl.

According to the arrest report, Kitna told a detective he thought they were legal because he found them online.

Police said they also searched Kitna’s phone and found three more images of two nude young girls in a shower — photos that had been saved to his phone in December 2021. The report did not estimate the ages of the girls.

Kitna was released on Dec. 1 from the Alachua County Jail on an $80,000 bond and ordered to have no unsupervised contact with minors and no internet access. He returned with his parents, retired NFL quarterback Jon Kitna and wife Jennifer, to Burleson, Texas.

Kitna appeared in four games as a redshirt freshman this season. He completed 10 of his 14 passes for 181 yards and a touchdown. He made his college debut in the Gators’ 52-17 win at home over Eastern Washington on Oct. 2.

With Kitna’s dismissal and starting quarterback Anthony Richardson announcing he was declaring for the 2023 NFL draft and forgoing the Gators’ matchup against the Oregon State Beavers in the Las Vegas Bowl on Dec. 17, Napier said Thursday that Jack Miller, who transferred from Ohio State last December, will start at quarterback in the bowl game.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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