Te’o was Pranked? It Appears He Was

Manti Te’o

The weird story of Manti Te’o and the girlfriend who wasn’t gets even weirder.

It appears he may have been pranked — which is too mild a word for it — by a serial hoaxer. The man who committed this hoax had evidently piled up at least six other victims besides Te’o. This hoaxer enlisted friends, including his sister, to help him carry on this hoax.

Today’s technology makes it easy for people to lie convincingly about themselves, which is a warning for all of us.

Trying to make sense of this is a little like trying to untangle a spider’s web. If you’d like to try, you can find video and text with details from ESPN at the ABC News web siteĀ here.

The ABC News article says in part:

This timeline of the Manti Te’o hoax appears to begin when Tessi Toluta’u, a Polynesian beauty queen, says she was contacted by “Lennay Kekua” in 2008 in what she now believes was a “catfish” scam.

Te’o, Notre Dame’s star linebacker, began his online relationship with “Kekua” sometime in 2009. But he wasn’t the first person to be contacted online by the fictitious woman.

2008

A person named “Lennay Kekua” sends a Facebook message to Tessi Toluta’u, a Polynesian beauty queen, requesting advice on entering beauty pageants, Toluta’u told ABC News.

Middle of 2008: Toluta’u says she continued to exchange Facebook messages with Kekua. Toluta’u believes Kekua is embellishing her story, saying, “she” is a Stanford volleyball player who is dating then-USC quarterback Mark Sanchez.

WINTER 2009

Manti Te’o tells ESPN,

Kekua befriends Te’o on Facebook in the winter of his freshman year in Notre Dame, he tells ESPN. He messages her back saying, “I’m Manti.” At this point they would begin an on-again, off-again relationship that would resume later with texts and phone calls

SEPT. 27, 2010

Te’o writes Toluta’u, a family friend, Facebook message asking about Kekua, writing, “She keeps talking like she knows everyone and I’m like thinking it’s a prank,” according to his Facebook messages.

Toluta’u responds on Facebook: “So many people are asking about her. Is she causing drama?” (Read more here.)


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