NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – So was Manti Te’o behind the dead girlfriend hoax, or was he the victim of it?
Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, who was originally thought to be a friend of Te’o's, confessed to a church friend that he was behind the hoax in early December, the friend told ESPN.
The friend is a woman in her mid-20s, ESPN reported, and she told the network that Tuiasosopo admitted that the hoax on Te’o was “a game.” He also revealed to her that it wasn’t the first time he engaged in such activity.
“(Tuiasosopo) told me that Manti was not involved at all, (that) he was a victim,” the woman told ESPN. “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.”
When Deadspin.com broke the story that Te’o's supposed deceased girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, never existed, it reported that photos of the apparent girlfriend were in fact those of a high-school classmate of Tuiasosopo’s.
Te’o's uncle, Alema Te’o, accused Tuiasosopo of orchestrating the hoax on The Zone Sports Network on Thursday night, saying, “Ronaiah Tuiasosopo is a liar, he concocted the whole thing. He misrepresented whatever program that he was trying to get across to Manti, and shoot, he lied every step of the way. I don’t feel it’s beyond him to hire somebody or bring somebody in to play the role of Lennay to get Manti to buy into this deal.”
The unnamed church friend told ESPN that she has implored Tuiasosopo to come clean and admit to what he did. She told the network that he called her when the story broke on Wednesday, and while he sounded at ease, she’s worried about the guilt that he’s carrying around with him
She’s concerned that he might not be able to live with it.
“I (still) am worried for him,” she told ESPN. “I know that you can’t judge people like that, and that’s why I continue to just encourage (him) to come out and tell the truth.”
Wow. So do you believe that Manti was a victim now, or are you still not sold? Sound off with your thoughts and comments below…