HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Much of the focus in the Manti Teo saga is turning to Ronaiah Tuiasosopo. ESPN reports he broke down to a friend and admitted fault for the entire hoax.
Sadly these types of virtual relationships happen all the time. Psychologists say part of the reason is because people can escape the realities of their own life for the drama in the virtual world.
Ronaiah Tuiasosopo has posted a couple videos on YouTube and reportedly auditioned for the television show "The Voice" with a story about a massive car accident.
He comes from a well known football family and is the son of a pastor. He is also the man people are pointing the finger at as the mastermind behind the Manti Teo hoax.
"This could be frustrated ambition essentially," said Marvin Acklin, Ph.D., clinical and forensic psychologist. "You can pretend to be someone else and that is extremely exciting and you can give people options that you never had before. You can be somebody else. You can have control over a victim that you would never get away with face to face so I think it is extremely appealing to sociopathic individuals."
Dr. Acklin is a licensed psychologist. He has never met or examined Tuiasosopo. But in general terms says anyone who would mask their emotions in a fake relationship for years may have his own interpersonal and mental health issues.
"You're getting away with something, you're manipulating or even exploiting another human being and I think that is fundamentally sociopathic," said Dr. Acklin.
The online world is a playground for sociopaths because the same rules don't apply online as they do in the real world.
"I think the virtual reality allows you to be sociopathic in a way that living an ordinary reality doesn't. You can drive as you want in virtual reality, you can kill people in virtual reality. So far they don't have video games where you can have virtual sex. There seems to be a curious boundary there," said Dr. Acklin.
Dr. Acklin says sociopathic behavior is all over and perhaps the fascination with Teo's ordeal is as interesting as the story itself which may also say something about today's society.
"It's the world where we live in now where you can be everywhere at once and you can be somebody that you're not," said Dr. Acklin. "Virtual dramas are even more exciting than real dramas."