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Woman Whose Photos Were Used To Create "Lennay Kekua" Understandably Flees Social Media

Illustration for article titled Woman Whose Photos Were Used To Create Lennay Kekua Understandably Flees Social Media

The epic catfishing of Manti Te'o continues to befuddle the nation. 23-year-old Los Angeles woman Diane O'Meara, whose photographs were now infamously appropriated by Ronaiah Tuiasosopo as an avatar for the nonexistent "Lennay Kekua," wrote a piece in the L.A. Times where she basically just does this. And who can blame her?

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I thought I had been careful with the privacy settings on my Facebook and Instagram accounts. I kept up with Facebook's privacy policies and took advantage of privacy tools. My private profile was not searchable by anyone who was not a "friend of a friend." I even limited access to photos of me that were posted by other people and tagged on my profile. And I made sure that every post and tag that was on my timeline was there because I allowed it to be there.

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O'Meara explains that Tuiasosopo, an acquaintance from her high school, took a variety of photos off of her Facebook page without her knowledge (obviously), and eventually contacted her for personalized shots, plying her with a sob story:

In a series of increasingly frantic messages in December, he asked me to get in touch with him, saying, "It's an emergency" and assuring me "I'm not hitting on you." [...] When I finally did make contact, he told me that he was trying to cheer up his cousin, who'd been nearly killed in a car accident and was awaiting surgery for head trauma.

She has since shut down her Twitter, Facebook and Instagram but says that it's "a temporary solution" and she'll eventually return to the Interwebz.

'Through social media, a launch into the Manti Te'o scandal' [L.A. Times]

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DISCUSSION

the more I hear, the more I think that Ronaiah guy is a total single white female for Te'o and simply knew how to bait him properly. Te'o's possible naivete is not too hard to believe when you factor in that he grew up in Laie, Hi, which is where the Mormon college and temple is situated on Oahu, and the town is almost exclusively Polynesian Mormon. I went to school there, people are encouraged to not open mouth kiss for crying out loud until you get married. You want to know what a lot of the college and high school local kids do for dates??? They go to the effing temple and watch church movies. Dressed in their sunday bests. You do NOT engage physically with the opposite sex unless it's on a spiritual level until marriage.

Ronaiah would know this since he has Mormon relatives. So how did he engage Te'o? By creating some girl whose sick and beautiful and dying but super spiritual who was up for scripture reading, even including his parents often. (smh)

This is the upbringing of Te'o. His loyalty to his family, his need to bring honor to his family and faith is very Samoan, and very Samoan Mormon specifically. He didn't go on a mission, but has been told time and again that his mission will be to be a good example as a public figure. Watch any interview with this kid, and he plugs his faith, God, and family every time. That was his way of doing missionary work.

The more that comes out the more I just think Te'o found a common outlet for mormon men his age who can't engage a woman physically so they have intense connections with a woman but only on a spiritual level. An online "relationship" with a spiritual hot girl makes a lot of sense.