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Face of Te'o's girlfriend says hoaxster confessed

By Tami Abdollah

Associated Press

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 03:14 p.m. HST, Jan 25, 2013


LOS ANGELES » The woman who was unknowingly the face of Lennay Kekua said the man who concocted the hoax confessed to her and said he wanted to end the ruse that snared Notre Dame star Manti Te’o many times before it unraveled. 

Diane O’Meara is the woman whose pictures were used to make an online profile of Kekua, the fake person who Te’o said he fell for without meeting in person. O’Meara said Ronaiah Tuiasosopo told her that he created the hoax and wanted to end it before Kekua “died” in September, but Te’o wanted the relationship with Kekua to continue. 

O’Meara spoke with The Associated Press by phone Thursday from New York with her attorneys in the room. O’Meara said Tuiasosopo confessed in a 45-minute phone call Jan. 14 that he’d “stalked” her Facebook profile for five years and stolen photos to create Kekua.

The 23-year-old O’Meara, of Long Beach, said when Tuiasosopo sent her a Facebook message Dec. 16, it was the first time he’d contacted her since high school. 

It was also 10 days after Te’o said he received a call from the person pretending to be Kekua, saying she was alive after all.  

O’Meara said Tuiasosopo called and told her about a serious car accident that left his cousin with major brain damage. He asked her for a photo with her holding up a sign reading “MSMK” — which Te’o says were the initials Kekua went by — and the date. Tuiasosopo said the idea was to cheer up his cousin on his birthday because he was facing surgery. O’Meara agreed.

Te’o provided a photo to Katie Couric that seems to be the shot O’Meara sent to Tuiasosopo. It was shown during Te’o’s interview with Couric that was broadcast Thursday. 

In early January, Tuiasosopo contacted O’Meara again to request more photos and a video of O’Meara saying “good luck on the 7th.” Tuiasosopo told her his cousin’s brain surgery had been pushed back. On Jan. 6, he texted her “Hey diane, just wanted to thank you again for your prayers & support. Tomorrow is the big day & we are being as positive as we can be!”

Jan. 7 was the date of the BCS national championship between Notre Dame and Alabama. O’Meara learned her identity had been used by Tuiasosopo to create Kekua when a Deadspin.com reporter contacted her last week and Tuiasosopo confessed.

O’Meara said she feels “violated” and “exposed” by what happened. Her attorney Jim Artiano said he is evaluating the situation and has not decided on whether to take any legal action.

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nippy68 wrote:
i got to admit that tuiasosopo did a good job coning both o'meara and te'o. the whole truth is coming out and i do believe te'o was not part of this scam. by the way if i was in te'o 's shoes i would've fall for the hoax too o'meara is a good looking gal.
on January 25,2013 | 10:16AM
jess wrote:
The recording sounded 100% like a girl but was supposedly Tuiasasopo. The only fault I find in Te'o is investing so much emotion into someone he'd never met. Rule #1 in my book is don't date on the internet.
on January 25,2013 | 10:26AM
BlueDolphin53 wrote:
Agreed, but then again, I don't think either of us are gullible 21 year old kids.
on January 25,2013 | 10:59AM
MS7 wrote:
He's a big kid. But I bet he wont be making that mistake again. And that was a girl, in fact it is Tuiasasopo's cousin from Samoa.
on January 25,2013 | 12:11PM
waikane_honolulu wrote:
First glance, she looks a bit like Michelle Wie.
on January 25,2013 | 10:58AM
Ripoff wrote:
no way she's hotter than michelle wie lol...but then again..wie is not bad too
on January 25,2013 | 12:00PM
BlueDolphin53 wrote:
LOL. Yeah, she does.
on January 25,2013 | 01:18PM
Waterman2 wrote:
Pretty girl, young man, full on into athletics, who knows what excuses the trickster used to avoid Te'o in person. TE'O.........no worry brudda, you got good heart and good taste. We all get caught along the line from time to time. Concentrate an the game , this is no big thing and I'm sure thousands of young ladies who saw you on TV would love to meet you.
on January 25,2013 | 11:09AM
MS7 wrote:
10-4! He just gotta sick to football. He has a good heart!
on January 25,2013 | 12:13PM
CriticalReader wrote:
Very possible this "O'Meara" girl is lying! First, she LOOKS exactly like Lennay Kekua. Second, she and that Ronaiah character live in California, where Hollywood is, and thus where the best make up artists in the world are. So, if you look closely, you may be able tp see possible signs maybe that the girl is actually possibly ronaiah made up to look like someone else, mabye. AND, has anyone checked her birth records? Has anyone analyzed her DNA against whoever the mother is on her birth records? How would we know even that person was even her birth mother? Where's the birth video? All these questions. So, the only thing one can conclude is that: She's lying!
on January 25,2013 | 11:25AM
KPaddler wrote:
can we be done with this non story already?
on January 25,2013 | 11:41AM
nodaddynotthebelt wrote:
I speak for myself when I say that I contribute to this forum only to share my personal opinions. And they are just that, opinions. This forum is for people to share their thoughts on the news of the day. Everyone has a right to their opinion. Speaking as a parent, I did not like what Manti Te'o did in using deception in what was obviously a ploy to garner sympathy votes for the Heisman Trophy. If you watch ESPN and other sports media outlets, many of the sports writers bought the story. The fact is, Manti Te'o came very close to wrongly winning the Heisman Trophy. Fortunately, he came up short. Many of us here were rooting for Te'o because we thought he was an outstanding young man that our children can look up to. Yes, star athletes are role models whether they like it or not. Children look up to them whether for good or bad. Many star athletes have taken that responsibility very well. Many have not. But this athlete is a homegrown athlete which many of Hawaii’s keikis looked up to. The issue here is honesty and integrity. Coming from a person that is affiliated with a Catholic school and possibly other religious influences, we hold him to higher standards whether for good or bad. When we found out that he was being deceptive and manipulated the Heisman Trophy voters we were outraged and for good reason. We expect more from our star athletes because we hold them to high esteem whether for good or bad. When I contribute my posts regarding Manti Te'o's deception I do so to share my opinion only. This forum is a sounding board for people, like myself, to give our two cents on the matter. I do not do so to say, "I am better than." I do so to share my thoughts on the news at hand. Nobody's perfect. I am not perfect. Neither is Manti Te’o. But at the end of the day we all shared our opinion on the news of the day. This post is in response to one comment that some of us are here to simply attack. Nothing could be further from the truth. Something that is lacking from subject at hand.
on January 25,2013 | 12:18PM
BlueDolphin53 wrote:
Cliff notes version please....
on January 25,2013 | 01:18PM
honopic wrote:
Somebody suckered somebody else. The rest is yada yada yada.
on January 25,2013 | 06:43PM
Chewybarka wrote:
They should really hook-up
on January 25,2013 | 04:45PM
Randz808 wrote:
Damn! Diane O'Meara is beautiful!
on January 25,2013 | 07:57PM
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