Ronaiah Tuiasosopo was molested as a child. The news was revealed during the second part of his interview with Dr. Phil McGraw on the Dr. Phil Show.
Tuiasosopo spoke to Dr. Phil for the first time since he tricked Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o into falling for a fake woman.
The 22-year-old confessed that the hoax he created had everything to do with the fact that he was molested as a child. Tuiasosopo added that he was repeatedly molested, starting at age 12, by someone close to his father.
The Huffington Post reports that he stated:
“I felt that I couldn’t do things, accomplish things, pursue things, live out as Ronaiah. And I felt the need to create this. It has everything to do with what I went through as a child.”
Tuiasosopo, who told his father he was molested as a child, also stated that creating the fake woman, Lennay Kekua, helped the football player live in an alternate reality.
CBS Chicago notes that the football player’s father, Titus Tuiasosopo, confessed how difficult it was to hear about the details of his son’s abuse. He stated:
“When he told me the location, the time, I could go back and vividly remember those trips, the times that these guys came over. That part, right there, was kind of gut wrenching for me.”
Tuiasosopo eventually killed off Kekua on the same day that Te’o's real grandmother passed away. The story of the linebacker playing football, despite the double tragedy, became an often-told tale.
In the interview with Dr. Phil, the football player apologized for everyone who was affected by the hoax. He stated, “People say, ‘Well, does he even have any feeling toward this?’ The truth is, I hurt every day from the decisions that I made.”
Do you think the molestation Tuisasosopo suffered as a child plays into the hoax he created for Manti Te’o?