STOCKTON (CBS13) – It’s the hoax that has the world abuzz, a Notre Dame football star and his fake girlfriend.
The man accused of orchestrating the online hoax against Manti Te’o went to high school in Stockton.
This story is bizarre enough already, but only adding to it is that people, who know Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, say he is the last person who’d lie.
“I am heartbroken,” Franklin High School teacher Linda Reed said.
She still can’t believe it. How could Tuiasosopo, one of her favorite former students at Franklin High School, be capable of such deception?
“It’s extremely bizarre to think this would be the type of boy who would play a prank like that,” Reed said.
According to the website Deadspin, Tuiasosopo fooled Notre Dame football star Manti Te’o into believing he was his online girlfriend.
The story captured the hearts of millions after it took a tragic turn, Teo’s girlfriend died right before a big game. It was just six hours after his grandma passed. Te’o dedicated the game to both of them.
However, his girlfriend never died. In fact, she never existed.
“There’s a lot of tragedy here, there’s a lot of sorrow,” said Notre Dame Athletics Director Jack Swarbrick said in a press conference.
Notre Dame is standing behind its star, claiming he was the victim of a cruel joke.
Reed, for now, is standing behind Tuiasosopo. He only attended Franklin High School for one year, but left a lasting impression on the woman he affectionately called “mama.”
“He was a very sweet person,” Reed said. “He was very well behaved; he was a role model.”
So far, Tuiasosopo has not responded to the allegations. No one at his family home would speak with media.