The Face of the Manti Te’o hoax speaks out
The woman, whose face was used in an internet hoax against Notre Dame football star Manti Te’o, says she’s a victim of identity theft.
Pictures of 23-year old Diane O’Meara were used to create the online profile known as ‘Lennay Kekua.’
Te’o says he thought Kekua was his real online girlfriend who died of leukemia a few months ago.
During the 2012 football season, Te’o repeatedly told the story about hearing that his girlfriend died right after his grandmother passed away.
But the face of Lennay Kekua was O’Meara, who says she had no idea what was happening and that she never heard of Te’o until the story of the hoax broke last week on the sports website Deadspin.
O’Meara told NBC News that an old high school classmate, named Roniah Tuiasosopo, is behind the whole thing.
“Roniah has called and not only confessed, but he has also apologized,” said O’Meara. “But I don’t think there is anything he could say to me that would fix this.”
O’Meara says Tuiasosopo has been stealing photos from her Facebook page for the past five years.
She says he had not heard from him in several years, when he convinced her to give him a picture for a slide show that he was making for his cousin who was injured in a car wreck.
“He repeatedly reached out to me on Facebook and I almost felt guilty about not sending a photo with this sign, for this photo slide show,” said O’Meara. “I mean he went as far as sending me a photo of his cousin with head trauma, in bandages, in the hospital with him.”
O’Meara says she doesn’t know why her face was picked for the Te’o hoax.
She says she’s not interested in pressing charges at this time.