Little by little, we may be getting closer to finding out what really happened in the curious case of Manti Te'o and his fictional girlfriend Lennay Kekua.
According to a girl who spoke anonymously to ESPN's Outside the Lines yesterday, Te'o was not in on the hoax that was exposed by Deadspin earlier this week. She knows this because she says that her friend Ronaiah Tuiasosopo—a man that Deadspin connected to the existence of Kekua—called her in early December and revealed that he had duped Te'o. The girl also revealed that Tuiasosopo told her that Te'o was not the first person that he had duped online.
"He told me that Manti was not involved at all, he was a victim," she told OTL. "The girlfriend was a lie, the accident was a lie, the leukemia was a lie. He was crying, he was literally crying, he's like, 'I know, I know what I have to do.'…It's not only Manti, but he was telling me that it's a lot of other people they had done this to."
OTL also interviewed two people from California—J.R. Viaosa and Celeste Tuioti-Mariner—who claim that their cousin was a victim of one of Tuiasosopo's elaborate hoaxes. They said that Tuiasosopo set up a fake MySpace page using a photo from a Victoria's Secret catalog and often agreed to meet up with their cousin in person but never showed up.
"When Lennay said she was gonna be at this park one day, we'd go to the park and Ronaiah pops up," they told OTL, "and then we go to the gym in Orange County where the kids have volleyball tournaments, Ronaiah's there."
There's been no word from Tuiasosopo since the scandal involving Te'o broke. But, all indications are that he had something to do with it, regardless of whether or not Te'o was actually involved in the hoax. So, hearing from him might provide the next piece of this crazy story's puzzle and let us all know what really happened during the Te'o hoax.
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