Ex-Miss Nevada USA Apologizes for Photos
Saturday, December 23, 2006; 10:30 PM
MIAMI -- The former Miss Nevada USA, dethroned over raunchy photos posted online, apologized Saturday as her attorney pleaded for the pageant queen to be given a second chance.
Katie Rees, who appeared in photos revealing a breast, exposing her thong underwear and kissing other young women at a party in Tampa, said her behavior was an "isolated incident."
"I am so sorry this happened," she said at a news conference in Clearwater, reading a prepared statement. "So many of us don't realize how our actions, even one night of poor judgment, can affect the rest of our lives."
Her attorney, Mario Torres of Tampa, asked that Miss Universe Organization co-owner Donald Trump grant Rees the same opportunity he gave Miss USA Tara Conner, who was allowed to keep her tiara after she tearfully admitted drinking as a minor at New York nightclubs. The Miss Universe Organization owns the Miss USA pageant and others.
"He always believes in second chances," Torres said of Trump. "We are asking for that and plead that he answer our call, allow us to meet with him and allow us to defend ourselves."
A Miss Universe spokeswoman has said organization president Paula Shugart made the decision to strip Rees of her title and Trump supported it. An e-mail sent to a secretary for Trump was not immediately answered Saturday.
Shugart has said first runner-up Helen Salas will assume the Miss Nevada title and compete at the next Miss USA pageant on March 23 in Los Angeles.
The person who posted the pictures of Rees should "in some way be held accountable," said Torres, adding that could involve legal action.
The photographer, a friend of Rees, was not identified.
Torres had previously said the photos of his client were taken when she was 17, but said Saturday they were taken three years ago, when she was 19.
"These images were from an isolated incident during my teenage years, long before my consideration to compete in the Miss USA program," Rees said. "While I take full responsibility for the photographs, I just want everyone to know the truth: This incident does not represent who I am."
Rees and Conner are not the only pageant queens whose behavior has been questioned lately. On Wednesday, Mothers Against Drunk Driving announced it was severing ties with Miss Teen USA Katie Blair over news reports that the 18-year-old from Billings, Mont., had been spotted partying with Miss USA in New York clubs.