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Man at center of Te'o hoax says he was molested

By Pat Eaton-Robb

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 09:29 a.m. HST, Feb 01, 2013

The man who says he tricked Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o into falling for a fake woman he created online claims the hoax had "everything to do" with escaping from real life because he had been molested as a child.

Ronaiah Tuiasosopo spoke publicly for the first time in an interview with Dr. Phil McGraw for the "Dr. Phil Show," the second part of which aired today at 4 p.m. on KHON.

The 22-year-old Tuiasosopo told McGraw he was repeatedly molested, beginning at age 12, by someone who was close to his father, a church pastor and youth minister.

"I felt that I couldn't do things, accomplish things, pursue things, live out as Ronaiah," Tuiasosopo said. "And I felt the need to create this. It has everything to do with what I went through as a child."

Tuiasosopo did not identify his alleged attacker by name and did not say whether he had told police about his claim.

His father, Titus Tuiasosopo, said it was difficult to hear the details of the abuse his son suffered.

"When he told me the location, the time, I could go back and vividly remember those trips, the times that these guys came over," he said. "That part, right there, was kind of gut wrenching for me."

Ronaiah Tuiasosopo said he built the online persona of Lennay Kekua, a nonexistent woman who Te'o said he fell in love with despite never meeting in person. Tuiasosopo then killed off the character last September.

He said creating Kekua — who met Te'o online during the player's freshman year at Notre Dame — allowed him to live in an alternate reality, and helped validate that he was a good person.

"When I looked at Lennay through Manti's eyes, I got a glimpse of who I was as far as my heart," said Tuisasosopo, who told McGraw that he fell in love with Te'o.

When Deadspin.com exposed the hoax in a story on Jan. 16, the report raised questions about whether Te'o was in on it. But Te'o denied he was involved and Tuiasosopo also said the All-American had nothing to do with the scam.

Kekua "died" the same day in September that Te'o's real grandmother passed away, and the story of the linebacker playing through the double tragedy became an often-told tale as Notre Dame went 12-0 last season and earned a spot in the BCS championship. Te'o failed at the time to make clear that he had only known Kekua online and through phone calls, which caused confusion later.

Te'o won seven national awards for his play and was runner-up for the Heisman Trophy. A couple of days before that award was presented, the linebacker had a call from the Kekua character saying she was alive.

Te'o, who has said he was deeply confused by that conversation, ultimately told his parents and coaches about the situation. Notre Dame said an investigation of Te'o's claims backed up his story and pointed to Tuiasosopo as the person behind the hoax. When asked by Katie Couric in an interview broadcast last week, Te'o said he is not gay.

Te'o and his family had no immediate comment today.

In the McGraw interview, Tuiasosopo said he was the voice of Kekua, and provided samples to McGraw and a producer. One of those samples, McGraw said, was compared by three separate laboratories to recorded voice mails sent by Kekua to Te'o. They were a match, he said.

Tuiasosopo apologized to Te'o, Notre Dame, his own family and everyone else affected by the hoax during the interview.

"People say, 'Well, does he even have any feeling toward this?'" Tuiasosopo said. "The truth is, I hurt every day from the decisions that I made."


I loved Te'o, hoaxer tells Dr. Phil

Kelly doesn't know if hoax affected Teo's play

Dr. Phil to interview alleged girlfriend hoaxer Tuiasosopo

Te’o sheds more light

Face of Te'o's girlfriend says hoaxster confessed

Notre Dame president defends handling of Te'o

Voice of Te’o prankster? Couric plays voicemails

As debate raged at ESPN, Te’o story slipped away

'What would you do' Te'o tells Couric

Woman in Te'o fake girlfriend photo speaks out

NFL teams get their turn at Te'o

Records link California home and Te'o case

Alleged mastermind of Te'o hoax may tell his story

Te'o to be interviewed by Katie Couric

Te'o regrets tainting name

Records link California home and Te'o case

Te'o provides answers, but more may be asked

'There is no way I could be a part of this'

Te'o not alone in claiming online wishful thinking

EXCLUSIVE: Woman tried new hoax in December call to Te'o

Te'o denies being part of dead girlfriend hoax

Alleged architect of Manti Te'o dead girlfriend hoax reportedly confesses

Man admitted duping Te'o, woman tells ESPN

Notre Dame to Te'o: Time to speak up

'Catfish' jumps to prominence amid murky Te'o hoax

Residents rally around hometown hero

History of a hoax

With Te'o silent, questions about hoax mount

Te'o spoke of girlfriend after hoax revelation

Damaging silence

Manziel shocked by Te'o girlfriend hoax

Draft guru: Te'o's stock took hit before hoax

Te'o mentioned 'girlfriend' twice recently

Timeline of Te'o quotes in girlfriend hoax story

Te'o interview 'scrapped'

Laie backs Te'o after girlfriend hoax

Te'o could drop in NFL draft after girlfriend hoax, expert says

Fundraiser 'shell-shocked' by Te'o girlfriend hoax

Ex-Cardinal fullback says he met Te'o's girlfriend

Football star's dead girlfriend an online hoax

At this point, who really knows what to believe?

The naive get reeled in when 'catfish' nibble online

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hukihei wrote:
This is better than any soap opera. Yesterday's "show" with Dr. Phil busting Tuiasosopo for his voice not being the voice of Lennay, the concern about his being "in recovery" from the evil of being mahu, and the head shots of Roniah and Manti, side by side on the TV screen....we couldn't have laughed louder at the office during our 4pm break to watch this on the office telly. So this afternoon, it'll be the finale, we hope.
on February 1,2013 | 04:45AM
NanakuliBoss wrote:
Tui is punking Dr.Phil BIG TIME. More episodes and $$$$..... Soon to become a reality TV . MAHU hillbilly Mongoose Hunter part time Storage Container Bidder with a Kardashian sidekick and Laker BF.
on February 1,2013 | 08:22AM
hanalei395 wrote:
Wow...Before...."Tuiasosopo"....a family of outstanding professional athletes....And now..."Tuiasosopo"....Mahu/On-line female impersonator.
on February 1,2013 | 08:38AM
cunfuzd4 wrote:
hanalei - This thing is going to be around for awhile because the freak seems to enjoy the attention. Just a thought but I'm sure this freak is causing his family as much pain and shame as he is Manti's. Perhaps, out of respect for the family we might want to leave their name out of it.
on February 1,2013 | 08:53AM
kainalu wrote:
I can't believe this is even news anymore. Train wrecks sells papers, I guess.
on February 1,2013 | 09:42AM
cunfuzd4 wrote:
kainalu - ever had to drive at a snails pace past an accident scene because of all the rubberneckers? Same thing here.
on February 1,2013 | 02:48PM
PCWarrior wrote:
So Manti was in love with one mahu. Big deal. Happens everyday. Nothing to see here people. Keep moving along.
on February 1,2013 | 08:29AM
allie wrote:
on February 1,2013 | 10:08AM
allie wrote:
The embarrassment to Notre Dame and Punahou goes on and on....when will the nightmare end?
on February 1,2013 | 10:07AM
fishwrider wrote:
When will the nightmare end? As soon as you stop posting on these blogs I imagine.
on February 1,2013 | 10:51AM
honopic wrote:
Good point, fishwrider. I guess that means the 12th of never. As for Ronaiah, he's so tangled in his own web of deception that he's delusional at best. At worst, he's still trying to con everybody. Either way, I agree with other posters: Move on. Nothing more to see here.
on February 1,2013 | 06:08PM
cunfuzd4 wrote:
ALL-LIE - on one side of your mouth you say you want it to end, then you continue to make comments that drive this. The only embarrassment is the fact that you are providing everyone absolute proof that you have no live, have no friends and have no redeeming or useful qualities.
on February 1,2013 | 02:51PM
lokela wrote:
Time to move on. This soap opera getting tired. Hope Manti has a great career and hope this brother gets some help.
on February 1,2013 | 05:16AM
cunfuzd4 wrote:
Oh, this bad soap is going to be around for several weeks while this Roniah freak makes his rounds of the daytime trailer trash shows. He's not going to get any help, he's too busy enjoying the "celebrity" status this is giving him.
on February 1,2013 | 05:40AM
honokai wrote:
It is time to move on As a football fan, I can say with absolute certainty, I don't care.
on February 1,2013 | 05:17AM
cunfuzd4 wrote:
yeah I never cared much about the "story" but many of us was having so much fun taking jabs at the resident troll
on February 1,2013 | 05:27AM
NanakuliBoss wrote:
Anybody really watches Dr.Phil?
on February 1,2013 | 08:23AM
cunfuzd4 wrote:
ALL-LIE evidently never misses it.
on February 1,2013 | 08:49AM
Manoa_Fisherman wrote:
Why make this fraudulent character get any more publicity. Enough already. Printing his stories only feed his ego.
on February 1,2013 | 05:54AM
PTF wrote:
Now that everything is out in the open, let's put this hoax issue to bed.
on February 1,2013 | 06:00AM
loquaciousone wrote:
on February 1,2013 | 06:10AM
hanalei395 wrote:
You're right....NUFF.......HOWEVER.......People will still be tuning in to Dr. Quack. (Just curious).
on February 1,2013 | 06:24AM
Publicbraddah wrote:
Fact is we'll probably never know the truth. But it's obvious this Tuiasosopo fellow is really confused and needs professional help (and I don't mean Phil). I just hope the media can put this to rest. No one was hurt except Teo's reputation is dinged but I'm sure he'll be able to recover over time.
on February 1,2013 | 06:25AM
cunfuzd4 wrote:
Why is it that the SA and AP see fit to spoon feed this stuff to everyone one tidbit at a time? To drag it out. Would be better if they just put all the stuff into one article so we can just read and vomit once...it would also save trees.
on February 1,2013 | 06:27AM
57nawahine wrote:
So what, now he trying to be the victim in the whole sick mess! Oh please!
on February 1,2013 | 06:37AM
ready2go wrote:
This hoax is getting funnier by the day.
on February 1,2013 | 06:40AM
fishwrider wrote:
Not sure if child molestation is "funny".
on February 1,2013 | 07:55AM
Keith_Rollman wrote:
What "child molestation?" This guy is a pathological liar.
on February 1,2013 | 08:21AM
fishwrider wrote:
Could be lying but who knows.
on February 1,2013 | 09:37AM
allie wrote:
might be fantasy lands...but he played "dr." Phil like a fool. He knew what to say to get sympathy
on February 1,2013 | 10:41AM
cunfuzd4 wrote:
ALL-LIE - fantasy lands is something you would be well acquainted with given the number of times you've been caught in lies and misrepresentation of facts. The only fools would be the Dr. Phil addicts such as yourself. You are nothing but trailer trash without the trailer.
on February 1,2013 | 02:53PM
cunfuzd4 wrote:
Keith - pathological liar?? You talking about Ronaiah the freak (RTF) or allie? Maybe both?
on February 1,2013 | 03:02PM
honopic wrote:
Hey, cumuzd4..... u may have uncovered the deepest plot of all. "allie" is really Ronaiah who is really Lennay who is really.......ALLIE. Now, it all makes sense! Clean cups, move down.
on February 1,2013 | 06:12PM
cunfuzd4 wrote:
no I think fish cracked us up with that remark yesterday by drawing the parallels between the two...guys posing as female college co-eds.
on February 1,2013 | 07:54PM
NanakuliBoss wrote:
Tommorrow, Tui's abuser is confronted by Dr.Phil. The day after the abuser confessed he was also abused. Oprah re lives her abuse. Next week Dr.Phil's wife comes out and claims Dr.Phil abused her. These will be the last shows. I thought Oprah was going off the air 2 years ago?
on February 1,2013 | 08:26AM
cojef wrote:
One can't give up at the snao of the finger after years and years on the front pages or TV screens. With this character he is in his glory and the spin he keeps piddling out only tickle the fancy of the fans ever more. In some instances the viewer fantasizes the issues themselves like they are living or experiencing the pain.
on February 1,2013 | 12:45PM
Sunny wrote:
I don't believe a word this guy says! I think he's scrambling for sympathy and airtime.
on February 1,2013 | 06:44AM
Anonymous wrote:
Freaking Boo-HOO! Lots of people have lived through the garbage that this Ronaiah mahu (supposedly) experienced. They never pulled this despicable deception on an incredibly naive young man. This guy is trash. No two ways about it. Worst part is? He's profiting off of his notoriety and his 15 minutes of fame while leaving Manti to deal with the ridicule and fallout from his mean stunt for years to come.
on February 1,2013 | 07:09AM
Holomua wrote:
He's lying.
on February 1,2013 | 07:29AM
HawaiiCheeseBall wrote:
Oh I get it - the dude is actually a VICTIM. Oh poor thing. How about this - go away all of you! Nuff already.
on February 1,2013 | 07:41AM
8082062424 wrote:
He not the victim of this twisted hoax he created. But he very much the victim of being molested of some twisted male. Kids who are molested by gay adult do not grow up normal they grow up with deep emotional and mental issues . i watched the show he needs some serious help
on February 1,2013 | 08:05AM
nodaddynotthebelt wrote:
Unfortunately, he belittles the "real" victims of child molestation. I doubt that he was indeed molested. If anything, he is a pathological liar. If he was indeed molested, why does he not come forward with the name of the "family friend"? At his age he is probably still capable of pressing charges. Further, I doubt that anything will come of his "revelation" that he was molested because there was no molester. It was just one of his many lies. Remember, he has been shown to have committed this hoax on another athlete.
on February 1,2013 | 08:30AM
aomohoa wrote:
Come on! Can't we have a day with out this garbage in the headlines. There is plenty of real news I'm sure!
on February 1,2013 | 07:56AM
Malani wrote:
I don't buy is story that just because he was molested this is the reason he is gay. If he didn't like what happened to him why in the world as an adult would he want to have this molesting continue to him and why would he want to do it to someone else what he hated done to him. He can continue to choose to stay in this lifestyle or get out of it. Anyone who hates something does not continue to do what they hate.
on February 1,2013 | 07:59AM
Kalaheo1 wrote:
Dr Phil AND Ronaiah Tuiasosopo! Who's the bigger fraud?
on February 1,2013 | 08:01AM
cunfuzd4 wrote:
Problem here is that his notoriety is due to a lie he/it perpetrated. So we're supposed to believe what he's saying now???
on February 1,2013 | 08:04AM
nodaddynotthebelt wrote:
Nothing can be believed of this man. If he indeed were molested by a family friend, he should be able to name the perpetrator. I could understand if it was a stranger but this was someone the family knew. Further, this does not absolve Manti Te'o for his despicable actions in knowingly using the hoax to benefit from the death of a "girlfriend" he did not even know for long. You can go to Deadspin which indicates that even his own teammates knew that the "girlfriend" was a fake long before it was blown open. If even his own teammates doubted the "girlfriend's" existence, he should have had some suspicions about the her. Then we find out that he did indeed know but continued to play along with it so that he would not lose all the sympathy votes that he garnered. You can check out the Deadspin article for yourself at http://deadspin.com/5976762/manti-teos-teammates-had-their-doubts-about-lennay-kekua.
on February 1,2013 | 08:14AM
KekoaBradshaw wrote:
Good points, nodaddy. Also check out the column by Steve Murray in the latest Midweek: http://www.midweek.com/teos-handlers-failed-their-client/ . No matter how nice a guy Manti may have been, in this whole situation his character comes into question. As for Ronaiah, he has to find reasons to justify being gay in a conservative Christian household and a culture which isn't known for tolerating gays. He may have been sexually molested, but that doesn't cause anyone to become gay. In any case, Ronaiah needs professional help (NOT from Dr. Phil) and Manti, unfortunately, for the rest of his lifer will be known as "the guy who fell for the hoax by the gay guy". It's a sad situation for both of them.
on February 1,2013 | 08:35AM
So I can see you were molested as a child and able to confront your perpetrator. I suppose this is where you get the "nodaddynotthebelt" name-it is obvious you have some issue of your own-that you as you say "name the pertpetrator". There are literally thousands of molestation attacks, rapes......that women do not report and keep the entire story under wraps. Please, nobody knows what a person thinks in a dire situation unless you've been there. You obviously have been there-what did your daddy do to you?
on February 1,2013 | 10:48AM
1R1E wrote:
on February 1,2013 | 08:24AM
cunfuzd4 wrote:
Just a thought...this circus is going to be around for awhile and I was thinking about this freak's family. I'm sure they're not exactly thrilled with him. Perhaps we should stop associating this nut sack with his family name and allowing him to drag him into the sewer with him? Maybe just refer to him by his first name and leave his family out of it? I'm sure he's causing them as much shame and embarrassment as he has Manti's.
on February 1,2013 | 08:46AM
LadyNinja wrote:
That is a lame excuse for pulling a stunt like this. Dispicable!
on February 1,2013 | 08:49AM
hon2255 wrote:
Mr T has some major issues, needs some help. Get a life Mr T.
on February 1,2013 | 10:17AM
fishwrider wrote:
Mr. T? Liked him on the "A Team". I pity the fool!!!!!!
on February 1,2013 | 10:53AM
Loki wrote:
Let the lying continue.
on February 1,2013 | 10:39AM
fishwrider wrote:
Why, did allie show up?
on February 1,2013 | 10:53AM
cunfuzd4 wrote:
fish - of course IT showed up. ALL-LIE is like a BAD ODOR that just won't go away.
on February 1,2013 | 03:05PM
Nalukai wrote:
This is one sick puppy !
on February 1,2013 | 10:49AM
lowtone123 wrote:
Your 15 minutes is up already. Time to go and move on.
on February 1,2013 | 10:54AM
Terii_Kelii wrote:
hey at least he's now deflecting attention away from Manti! oh wait. He keeps bringing his name up. ummmm nevermind.
on February 1,2013 | 11:36AM
cunfuzd4 wrote:
Terii - you talking about Roniah the freak or allie the dolt?
on February 1,2013 | 03:06PM
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