Former footballer jailed for 16 months for harrassing man at behest of woman he met online

Former Footballer Jailed For 16 Months For Harrassing Man At Behest Of Woman He Met Online
A former professional footballer who harassed a man he had never met on behalf of a woman he befriended online has been jailed for 16 months.
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Isabel Hayes

A former professional footballer who harassed a man he had never met on behalf of a woman he befriended online has been jailed for 16 months.

Rodney de Khors, a retired League of Ireland footballer, put his head in his hands and wept when the sentence was handed down in Dublin Circuit Criminal Court on Monday.


Defence counsel said De Khors thought he was being a 'good Samaritan' when he agreed to help the woman – whom he had also never met - to smear the man's character online over a period of a year.

In a series of posts on Twitter, De Khors labelled the man as a sexual deviant and a predator, as well as a paedophile, the court heard.

He posted doctored images of his victim and tagged the man's employer in numerous posts between August 2019 and August 2020.

The court heard the victim had been in a relationship with the woman, and they had a child together prior to the relationship breaking down.


This woman can't be named as she is still before the courts, David Staunton BL, prosecuting, told the court.

The court heard the woman got to know De Khors online and told him that the victim was not giving her adequate child support.

Seeking to ingratiate himself with her, De Khors started posting the social media messages about the man, despite never having met him.

The court heard the woman provided De Khors with images of the man and the details of his employer. De Khors used an account entitled IrishSteve@BadboyDublin, the court heard. This account was linked back to De Khors by gardaí investigating the online harassment of the man.


Victim impact statement

In a victim impact statement which he read out in court, the victim said De Khors' tireless campaign of “horrific allegations” against him had been a “living nightmare”.

He said he was labelled a “paedophile, a sexual predator, a danger to women and children” and that his friends and acquaintances were genuinely concerned for his state of mind as a result of the lies posted online. He said he had to change career.

The man said he believes De Khors has no idea how he “destroyed” him as a person, outlining that he has suffered from extreme anxiety, depression, PTSD and a fear of social encounters in the wake of the harassment.

De Khors (54) of Coolevin, Ballybrack, Co Dublin, pleaded guilty to one count of harassing the man on dates between August 12th, 2019 and August 31st, 2020. He has no previous convictions.


Kevin Roche BL, defending, said his client has never come to Garda attention before and that he is “mentally scarred” and extremely ashamed of his actions. He told gardaí he always wanted to be a footballer and people saw him as a hero. “I'm not a hero, I'm a failure,” he told gardaí.

De Khors was a professional footballer for a number of teams in the League of Ireland and has worked since retiring from football. A psychological report was handed into court, which outlined that he is struggling with acute mental health difficulties.

Mr Roche said De Khors was at a low risk of reoffending in the future.

Sentencing De Khors on Monday, Judge Martin Nolan said it was hard to know why De Khors did what he did.


He said that although De Khors had good mitigation in terms of his regret and remorse and his lack of criminal convictions, his culpability was serious.

“It was a campaign of vilification on social media,” the judge said.

He said De Khors had engaged in a “prolonged” campaign of spreading falsehoods about his victim online which was “seriously injurious” to the man. He noted the period of offending went on for a period of a year.

Judge Nolan handed down a sentence of three years and suspended the final 20 months on a number of conditions. He agreed with defence counsel that psychiatric care should be made available to De Khors in custody.

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