- Texas man arrested for powder-letter hoax
- Islamic State opens ‘marriage bureau’ for single jihadists
- Drone almost blocks California firefighting planes
- Tornado rips off roofs, downs trees near Boston
- GOP: Environmental rules keeping agents from accessing border
- John Kerry: Millions displaced by religious fighting in 2013
- Federal appeals court rules against Virginia’s gay marriage ban
- White House says Russia ‘losing’ war in Ukraine
- Hamas turns to North Korea for weapons deal, Iran for money
- Syrian casualties surge as jihadis consolidate
Face of Te’o’s girlfriend says hoakster confessed
Question of the Day
LOS ANGELES (AP) - 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 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 on 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.
Tami Abdollah can be contacted at tabdollah(at)ap.org or http://www.twitter.com/latams
By David Keene
Allowing states to innovate could reduce dependency on bureaucracy
- D.C. seeks to stay judge's order allowing gun owners to carry in public
- Hillary Clinton: Forget Obama, George W. Bush made her 'proud to be an American'
- Iraqi Christians rally at White House: 'Obama, Obama, where are you?'
- Illegal immigrants demand representation in White House meetings
- White House defends Kerry failure to broker Middle East cease-fire
- Tennessee Gov. Haslam slams White House for secret dump of illegals in his state
- Border surge puts Obama legacy on immigration at stake
- Federal appeals court rules against Virginia's gay marriage ban
- Federal judge rules D.C. ban on handguns in public is unconstitutional
- White House says Russia 'losing' war in Ukraine
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq