Brazilian officials are now saying that the three American swimmers being held in Rio De Janeiro have confessed that teammate Ryan Lochte made up the robbery story after a gas station altercation.
The official, who has direct knowledge of the investigation, spoke anonymously because he is not authorized to speak about an ongoing investigation.
ESPN further explains the official's comments:
"He said that around 6 a.m. Sunday, Lochte, along with Conger, Bentz, and Jimmy Feigen, stopped at a gas station in Barra da Tijuca, a suburb of Rio where many Olympic venues are located. One of the swimmers tried to open the door of an outside bathroom. It was locked.
A few of the swimmers then pushed on the door and broke it. A security guard appeared and confronted them, the official said. The guard was armed with a pistol, the official said, but he never took it out or pointed it at the swimmers.
According to the official, the gas station manager then arrived. Using a customer to translate, the manager asked the swimmers to pay for the broken door. After a discussion, they paid him an unknown amount of money and left."
It had been previously reported that in the early hours of Sunday morning, American swimmer Ryan Lochte and three of his teammates, Jack Conger, Gunnar Bentz, and Jimmy Feigen were robbed at gunpoint after coming home from a party in Rio De Janeiro.
According to reports, the four swimmers allegedly didn’t notify police after the incident and law enforcement didn’t even start investigating the crime until after the story made headlines.
Lochte says he didn't tell the authorities because he thought they would “get in trouble.”
However, after a video surfaced showing Lochte and the other three men arriving back to the Olympic village with their wallets, a Brazilian judged issued an order for Lochte and Feigen's passports to be seized.
While Lochte had already made his way back to the States before the order was issued, Feigen, Bentz, and Conger are currently being held in Rio.
When Lochte was asked by “The Today Show's” Matt Lauer if he was lying about what happened that night, the 32-year-old adamantly denied fabricating the story:
“He stopped me quickly and strongly denied that. He said, 'That's absolutely not the case. I wouldn't make up a story like this, nor would the others. As a matter of fact, we all feel it makes us look bad. We're victims in this and we're happy that we're safe.'”
This new information comes to light after a strange statement was made by Olympic Communication Director, Mario Andrada, that seemingly implied the swimmers were lying— even though the IOC had apologized to the swimmers days earlier. The director's statement also seems to downplay the gravity of the fabrication:
“I do not regret having apologized. No apologizes from him or other athletes are needed. We have to understand that these kids came here to have fun. Let's give these kids a break. Sometimes you make decisions that you later regret. They had fun, the made a mistake, life goes on.”
Independent Journal Review will continue to post up-to-date information as “LochteGate” continues to progress. Stay tuned to IJR.com for updates.