Former Florida Gators quarterback Jalen Kitna’s student enrollment remains uncertain days after taking a plea deal for his initial arrest for suspicion of child pornography possession.
The 20-year-old’s five felony charges were dropped in court July 5, and Kitna will no longer have to register as a sex offender. In return, the former quarterback pleaded no contest to two misdemeanor counts of breach of peace, which is disorderly behavior amounting to a minor offense.
He will face one year of probation rather than jail time.
Ron Kozlowski, Kitna’s lawyer, said the state attorney agreed it was a fair result, which led to the outcome.
“[It is] unfortunate that it went down the way it did,” he said.
He hopes Kitna can put the case behind him.
Students and locals are divided on the outcome of Kitna’s case.
Antonio Saladrigas, an 18-year-old UF finance sophomore, thought the sentencing was fair and Kitna didn’t deserve to be on a registry, he said.
“I think this is something that happens a lot with a lot of people,” Saladrigas said. “Obviously it is illegal in some ways, but for the most part, it's nothing where he has to register for anything.”
Maverick Prince, a 20-year-old sports management junior, said he trusts in the justice system. He is also pleased with UF’s response to the case.
“I'm happy that the team had the foresight to handle it immediately,” Prince said. “They quickly got him off the team and made sure he wasn't involved with the university… It's embarrassing that we were associated with that, but I'm glad that it was handled in the way that it was.”
Tyrone Johnson, a 41-year-old Newberry resident, felt the plea deal was too light. The case showed that having enough wealth could allow someone to escape the harshest of criminal charges, he said.
“Jalen Kitna's plea deal is the second worst given by the State of Florida to a child sexual predator next to Jeffrey Epstein,” Johnson said. “It's a slap in the face to the most vulnerable of victims: our children… it's a perfect example of two justice systems in America: one for the privileged elite, [and] a different one for minorities and the poor.”
Kitna apologized to family, friends and those who care about him in court July 5.
“Their support through this whole ordeal has meant a lot to me,” he said.
Kitna was arrested Nov. 30 on suspicion of exchanging child pornography through the online social platform Discord.
Officers initially found three child pornography images on his phone, according to his December arrest report, though he told law enforcement he believed the images were legal.
He was dismissed from the football team days later.
Kitna remains actively banned from campus until 2025, though his student enrollment status isn’t known.
UF was not able to provide any information to The Alligator in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
“Any reports alleging Student Conduct Code violations received by the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution are handled in accordance with UF Regulation 4.040,” according to a UF statement.
Contact Gabriel Velasquez Neira at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @gvelasquezn.
Gabriel Velasquez Neira is a second-year Journalism major, and the Audio Editor and Metro GA Reporter. In his free time, he enjoys sleeping, taking photos and playing guitar.