NCF Nation: Ronaiah Tuiasosopo

Hoaxer was in love with Manti Te'o

January, 31, 2013
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A California man said he created the hoax involving former Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o and a fake girlfriend because he was in love with the football player.

Ronaiah Tuiasosopo spoke publicly for the first time in an interview with Dr. Phil McGraw for the "Dr. Phil Show," the first part of which aired Thursday.

The 22-year-old Tuiasosopo said he created the online persona of Lennay Kekua, a nonexistent woman whom Te'o said he fell for without ever meeting in person and later believed had died of leukemia.

Tuiasosopo said Te'o knew nothing of the hoax. "He had no involvement," Tuiasosopo said. "He did not know anything."

He also said the loyalty and support he gave Te'o was real.

To read the full story, click here.

Tuiasosopo: Te'o not involved

January, 30, 2013
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In an interview with Dr. Phil McGraw that will air Thursday, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo says the voice of Manti Te'o girlfriend Lennay Kekua was his, and that the star Notre Dame linebacker had no role in the hoax.

The first of a McGraw's two-part interview with Tuiasosopo will air Thursday on the "Dr Phil Show." McGraw appeared Wednesday morning on NBC's "Today" show, which aired two clips of the Tuiasosopo interview.

"There were many times when Manti and Lennay have broken up," Tuiasosopo said, "but something would bring them back together, whether it was something going on in his life or Lennay's life, or in this case my life."

McGraw said Tuiasosopo told him he fell deeply in love with Te'o, and that for Tuiasosopo it was a romantic relationship.

"Here we have a young man that fell deeply, romantically in love," McGraw told NBC. "I asked him straight up, 'Was this a romantic relationship with you?' And he says yes. I said, 'Are you then therefore gay?' And he said, 'When you put it that way, yes.' And then he caught himself and said, 'I am confused.' "

McGraw told NBC that Te'o "absolutely, unequivocally" wasn't involved in the hoax.

To read the full story, click here.

Dr. Phil to interview Te'o hoaxer

January, 25, 2013
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NEW YORK -- Dr. Phil McGraw has booked the first on-camera interview with the man who allegedly concocted the girlfriend hoax that ensnared Notre Dame football star Manti Te'o.

A "Dr. Phil Show" spokesperson confirmed Friday the interview with Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, the man accused of creating an online persona of a nonexistent woman whom Te'o said he fell for without ever meeting face-to-face.

For the full story, click here.

Manti Te'o girlfriend voice at issue

January, 25, 2013
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Hollywood couldn't make this up. One day after a report that the voice of Manti Te'o's fake girlfriend belonged to the man who masterminded the hoax, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, another voice has emerged, that of his female cousin.

Relatives of Tino Tuiasosopo, a woman in her mid-20s who lives in Pago, Pago, American Samoa, told the New York Post that Te'o has been speaking to her.

"Tino is the girl that Manti has been talking to all these months," said a Tuiasosopo cousin, according to the Post.

To read the full story, click here.

Photo woman: Tuiasosopo confessed

January, 24, 2013
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The woman who was unknowingly the face of Lennay Kekua said the man who concocted the hoax confessed to her and said he wanted to end the ruse that snared Notre Dame star Manti Te'o many times before it unraveled.

Diane O'Meara is the woman whose pictures were used to make an online profile of Kekua, the fake person whom Te'o said he fell for without meeting in person. O'Meara said Ronaiah Tuiasosopo told her that he created the hoax and wanted to end it before Kekua "died" in September, but Te'o wanted the relationship with Kekua to continue.

O'Meara spoke with The Associated Press by phone on Thursday from New York with her attorneys in the room. O'Meara said Tuiasosopo confessed in a 45-minute phone call Jan. 14 that he'd "stalked" her Facebook profile for five years and stolen photos to create Kekua.

The 23-year-old O'Meara, of Long Beach, Calif., said when Tuiasosopo sent her a Facebook message Dec. 16, it was the first time he'd contacted her since high school.

It was also 10 days after Te'o said he received a call from the person pretending to be Kekua, saying she was alive after all.

To read the full story, click here.

Manti Te'o was talking to a man

January, 24, 2013
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The woman whose picture was used to create Manti Te'o's fake girlfriend has been identified, but the voice of the woman who had hours of late-night phone calls with the Notre Dame star linebacker has remained silent. Turns out that's because it reportedly was a man.

The lawyer for the man who has been identified as the person behind the hoax, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, told the New York Daily News that his client disguised his voice and assumed the identity of Lennay Kekua to try to develop a relationship with Te'o.

Milton Grimes said that Te'o "thought it was a female he was talking with. It was Ronaiah as Lennay."

Te'o appeared on Katie Couric's television show this week to explain his role in the hoax, and he also supplied voice mails to the program that he says are from the person who he thought was Kekua. While the quality of the recording is not great on all of the clips, the voice does sound feminine. The clips were posted earlier Thursday on Couric's website but are no longer available.

Grimes said that Tuiasosopo wasn't trying to hurt Te'o.

"This wasn't a prank to make fun," Grimes said, according to the newspaper. "It was establishing a communication with someone. ... It was a person with a troubled existence trying to reach out and communicate and have a relationship."

Grimes wouldn't characterize the type of relationship Tuiasosopo wanted with the Heisman Trophy runner-up.

"I wouldn't describe his issues at this time," he said to the Daily News.

To read the full story, click here.
The brutally unsentimental retelling of the Manti Te'o story feels like an open wound, a cautionary tale that teaches an unfortunate lesson: Trust is dangerous.

Yet some of the speculative detritus was swept away Friday night when Te'o sat down with ESPN's Jeremy Schaap for a 2-hour, off-camera interview. The sprawling dialogue answered many questions, but made the shocking turn of events no less dumbfounding.

What did seem to emerge is that Te'o was not complicit in the hoax that created a fake girlfriend for him so she could die a fake death and inspire Te'o and others who heard the fake story. "No, never," Te'o said when asked if he had any part in the ruse.

He, in fact, communicated with the alleged hoax perpetrator, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, on Jan. 16, the day Deadspin.com broke the story. Te'o said Tuiasosopo apologized and tried to explain himself. After the interview, Te'o showed Schaap Twitter direct messages from Tuiasosopo that contained an apology for orchestrating the hoax.

Te'o said he hopes Tuiasosopo learned a lesson but he holds no ill will toward him.

Some of us might not feel the same way. This hoax turned an enrapturing tales of tragic death, love and hope into baloney. We jammed Te'o into an inspirational hero archetype during the football season, but what we really were seeing was catfish, as we all have learned this week is the term for a fake, online relationship.

For Ted Miller's full column, click here.

Manti Te'o denies being part of hoax

January, 19, 2013
1/19/13
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video Manti Te'o denied being part of a hoax involving a relationship with a person online whom he considered his girlfriend, during an interview with ESPN on Friday night.

"No. Never," Te'o said in a 2 1/2-hour interview with ESPN's Jeremy Schaap.

"I wasn't faking it," he said. "I wasn't part of this."

Te'o said he didn't know for sure that "Lennay Kekua" never existed until Wednesday, when Ronaiah Tuiasosopo called Te'o and admitted he was behind the hoax.

Later Wednesday, Deadspin.com posted a story detailing an online relationship Te'o thought he had with Kekua which he says he learned was a hoax.

Te'o said he received a direct message from Tuiasosopo on Twitter where Tuiasosopo said he was the perpetrator, along with one other man and a woman.

"Two guys and a girl are responsible for the whole thing," Te'o said. Asked who they are, he said: "I don't know. According to Ronaiah, Ronaiah's one."

Te'o spoke at the IMG Training Academy in Bradenton, Fla., where he is preparing for the NFL draft. There were no cameras at the interview, which was recorded.

The Notre Dame linebacker said he did not make up anything to help his Heisman Trophy candidacy.

"When (people) hear the facts, they'll know," he said. "They'll know that there is no way that I could be part of this."

For the full story, click here.

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