Michael Oher’s saga with the family who claimed they adopted him while he was in high school took another turn during the week.
Lawyers for Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy denied in court papers filed Thursday that they used a legal agreement between them and Oher to enrich themselves at her expense and lied about their intention to adopt her.
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Oher accused the couple in a lawsuit filed last month in Tennessee probate court of falsely representing themselves as his adoptive parents, saying he discovered in February that the guardianship agreed upon nearly 20 years ago did not wasn’t the arrangement he thought it would be. Oher claimed the Tuohys kept him in the dark about financial dealings.
The Tuohys have repeatedly denied Oher’s claims and on Thursday maintained their desire to end the conservatorship. The family said they loved Oher like a son and provided him with food, shelter, clothing and cars while he lived with them. They denied saying they intended to legally adopt him.
The Tuohys’ filing says Oher referred to Sean and Leigh Anne as “mom” and “dad” and they referred to Oher as their son. They acknowledged that other websites showed them referring to Oher as an adopted son, but said the term was used “in the colloquial sense and they never intended for this reference to be viewed with a legal implication.
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“They vehemently deny viewing petitioner as a gullible young man whose athletic talent could be exploited for their own benefit,” the filing states.
The family said the conservatorship was the tool chosen to comply with NCAA rules that would have prevented Oher from attending Ole Miss. The filing says the NCAA “made it clear that he could attend Ole Miss if he was part of the Tuohy family in some way.”
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The Tuohys added that Oher lied about finding out he wasn’t adopted in February and pointed to the former NFL player’s 2011 book “I Beat the Odds,” which indicated he knew that the Tuohys had been named conservators rather than adoptive parents.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.