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Alleged mastermind of Te'o hoax may tell his story

By Tami Abdollah

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 07:18 a.m. HST, Jan 21, 2013

LANCASTER, Calif. >> The person cast as the mastermind of the hoax involving Notre Dame's Manti Te'o may tell his side of the story, a family member said today.

Peter Navy Tuiasosopo, uncle of Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, says the family plans to hold a meeting this week to determine when and how his nephew would talk about the bizarre prank.

"We want to do it right," he said, also noting that the family has hired an attorney. He never directly mentioned the hoax or his nephew being involved.

Te'o insisted he had no role in the hoax involving his "dead" girlfriend and told ESPN on Friday night that he was duped by a person who has since apologized to him.

In an off-camera interview, Te'o identified that person as Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, a 22-year-old acquaintance who lives in California. He said the young man contacted him soon after Deadpsin.com broke the news on Wednesday. The Deadspin story indicated Ronaiah Tuiasosopo was involved, and suggested Te'o was, too.

"We're just a family of faith. The family is holding up well," Peter Navy Tuiasosopo said. "They're holding up the way I would expect a family to. This is a storm."

He made the comments after attending a two-hour service at the Oasis Christian Church, where his brother, who is Ronaiah's father, is pastor.

Titus Tuiasosopo, the father, choked up as he thanked people for their prayers.

"I've been practicing how to say 'no comment' in 20 languages," the pastor told his congregation. The family has not commented publicly since news of the hoax broke.

Ronaiah Tuiasosopo wasn't seen in attendance, and two church members said he was not there.

Earlier in the day, ABC news announced that Te'o would do his first television interview with Katie Couric. The interview will air Thursday on Couric's daytime talk show and Te'o's parents will be with him. ABC was not releasing details of when the interview would take place or where.

Also, in a story published in Sunday's South Bend Tribune, a Notre Dame spokesman said the university decided against disclosing the hoax before the Irish played Alabama in the BCS championship game on Jan. 7 because it wasn't in the best interest of the teams.

University spokesman Dennis Brown said some school administrators thought they should release what they knew about the hoax when they became aware of it. Te'o went to coaches and school officials with his story on Dec. 26. The school commissioned an investigation that it says confirmed Te'o was not involved. Investigators gave their findings to the school on Jan. 4.

The university officials said the investigators did not examine cellphone records, emails or other electronic communication to determine the length or extent of Te'o's communication over the past few years with the person claiming to be Lennay Kekua, nor did the university ask Te'o to take a lie detector test.

The school informed Te'o's parents about the investigation results on Jan. 5.

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Descartes22 wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on January 20,2013 | 05:20PM
pching wrote:
They forgot to mention the investigation was performed by the imaginary Inspector Gadget.
on January 20,2013 | 05:41PM
Publicbraddah wrote:
I believe it was Inspector Clouseau.
on January 21,2013 | 07:11AM
Nocturnal wrote:
Can you imagine how much money this Ronaiah guy is going to be paid for his side of this story? A story he fabricated and made up? That's just amazing in and of itself of how our society works. Sigh.
on January 20,2013 | 05:41PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the worst this is how i would rate the recent sports scandals:

10 --- Tiger Woods on Thanksgiving Week a few years ago.

7 --- Kris Humphries and one of the Kardashian sisters divorce soon after they were married.

3 --- Manti.

This Manti incident will pass, it is minor.

on January 20,2013 | 05:57PM
GAC wrote:
forget about this incident people . they are out there to make money. sell tabloids, books and stories . let it go, let it go.
on January 20,2013 | 06:37PM
OldDiver wrote:
And we should believe anyone involved in this because?
on January 20,2013 | 06:41PM
false wrote:
Good luck Manti, get this behind you and move forward to your NFL career.
on January 20,2013 | 07:02PM
hanabatadayz wrote:
in the other story it said that Navy died in 2011. this is so weird
on January 20,2013 | 07:39PM
HOSSANA wrote:
Everybody is missing the point of this whole stupid affair. The bottom line is that Manti has to be held accountable for allowing the press or media to perpetuate this lie thus enhancing his image, character, and legacy even knowing that she was a fake...It's not so much he was a victim of this hoax but Manti allowed the press to continue to print favorable stories on his emotional courage which definitely influenced voters in him winning all those fb awards this season. Even his ND teammates knew she was a fake but Manti was enjoying the press coverage and loving it until Dec. 26 when he found out that it was going to be revealed that this girl was a fake.....I don't care what he says in the mgt. with Katie Couric....something "really stinks in the state of denmark."
on January 20,2013 | 08:46PM
patk wrote:
Agree, I believe Manti is innocent but he should have come out immediately once he found out. Playing games they way they did only turned out bad for everyone. Also, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo and everyone else involved in the scam are the worst kind of scum. I hope they are receiving tons of death threats and will be living in fear for a long time.
on January 21,2013 | 01:03AM
st1d wrote:
publicity, fame, and money are what ronaiah tuiasosopo has been seeking from his failed plans to win at a talent show to scamming manti. in both attempts he claimed a horrendous car accident as a ploy for sympathy. giving tuiasosopo a national platform to present his side of the story is playing into his plans.

while national media sells and profits from the story, they feed and validate not only tuiasosopo's plans, but, also encourage other sociopaths to execute their plans of deception and violence.

on January 21,2013 | 07:11AM
Mythman wrote:
ditto on the sociopath - they are drawn to media like bees to nectar.......
on January 21,2013 | 07:32AM
primo1 wrote:
"We're just a family of faith." Doesn't seem like the faith thing is working out too well...also to label Tuiasosopo a "mastermind" is an insult to true masterminds...
on January 21,2013 | 07:20AM
Ripoff wrote:
This ronaiah dude is a piece of work...
on January 21,2013 | 07:44AM
Mallory wrote:
"The university officials said the investigators did not examine cellphone records, emails or other electronic communication to determine the length or extent of Te'o's communication over the past few years with the person claiming to be Lennay Kekua" - that speaks volumes for the integrity of the investigation (or lack thereof)
on January 21,2013 | 02:33PM
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