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Report: Man admits to starting Manti Te’o girlfriend hoax

Updated: January 18, 2013 4:29PM

Ronaiah Tuiasosopo admitted to a friend that he was the instigator of an elaborate hoax involving Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o, ESPN is reporting.

The friend agreed to be interviewed on ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” only if she was not identified because she feared for her family’s safety in the wake of the avalanche of publicity surrounding the unfolding scandal involving Heisman Trophy finalist.

The woman said Tuiasosopo admitted the role he played in a Internet hoax that started out as a prank during a recent conversation. The woman said Tuiasosopo’s tearful confession included his claiming Te’o was not aware of the deception and that Tuiasosopo had been involved with similar hoaxes in the past.

“Outside the Lines” interviewed two others who claim a cousin had the same hoax pulled on them by Tuiasosopo.

“He [Ronaiah] told me that Manti was not involved at all, he was a victim. …,” the woman told ESPN. “The girlfriend was a lie, the accident was a lie, the leukemia was a lie. He was crying, he was literally crying, he’s like ‘I know, I know what I have to do.’ It was not only Manti, but he was telling me that it’s a lot of people they had done this to.”

The woman said she spoke with Tuiasosopo on Wednesday when news of the hoax was making national news. She said she worries about what Tuiasosopo might do to himself in the wake of the truth becoming known.

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