Alleged mastermind of Te'o hoax may tell his story

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 20, 2013 at 9:47 pm •  Published: January 20, 2013
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LANCASTER, Calif. (AP) — 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 Sunday.

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.