Ronaiah Tuiasosopo was "Lennay Kekua," right down to the voice, according to voice recognition analysts hired by the "Dr. Phil" show.
The mastermind behind the Manti Te’o fake girlfriend hoax did his imitation of the voice of the fictional Kekua on a taped episode of the syndicated talk show which aired Friday. A detailed analysis by three individual labs contacted by the show found with scientific certainty that Tuiasosopo’s voice was a match for the one on voice mail recordings of "Kekua" made public by the Notre Dame linebacker. Tuiasosopo has admitted to creating the fake Kekua in 2008 and making Te’o believe she died of leukemia in September, 2012, and his ability to alter his voice was a large part of the deception.
“Ronaiah can manipulate his voice without using a voice manipulation box or device,’’ analyst Kent Gibson, the owner of Forensic Audio, told Dr. Phil McGraw. “It is a true talent. I’ve never heard someone do this before.’’
Tuiasosopo, 22, would not do the voice on camera, saying that it made him nervous because he was always by himself in a dark room when he imitated the voice in conversations with Te’o. He read the script in a female voice of three voice mails left by "Kekua" behind a partition during the interview with McGraw, but the results were inconclusive as far as a match.
A producer from the “Dr. Phil’’ show then accompanied him to his home, where the actual calls to Te’o took place over the course of the hoax. The samples from that recording of his female voice produced a definitive match, with one analyst declaring it an 87.94 percent chance, another calling it 100 percent Tuiasosopo, and the third analyst saying there was a 70.54 percent probability it was him.
The determination that Tuiasosopo was the one doing Kekua's voice refuted a report by The New York Post that alleged his female cousin, Tino Tuiasasopo, was the one speaking for hours at a time on the phone with Te’o and leaving voice mails.
In the second half of a two-part interview that first aired on Thursday, Tuiasosopo also revealed that he was molested by a family friend starting at 12 years old and eventually raped repeatedly. In Thursday's segment, he told McGraw that he had developed romantic feelings for Te'o but was "confused'' and "lost'' about his sexuality. Joined by his parents during Friday's segment, he claimed he created the fake persona of Kekua as a means to cope with the events of his past.
“It was just an escape from a lot of the things I had been through and that I was too embarrassed to share, especially coming from a family where we’re well-known in the football world and my dad being a pastor,’’ Tuiasosopo said. “Holding that in as a child it just led me to want to escape my real life and self.’’