Judge Rules In Favor Of Topless Beauty

Japanese opposition camp leader Yukio Hatoyama, president of the Democratic Party of Japan, speaks to reporters at DPJ headquarters in Tokyo on July 31. Hatoyama criticized a policy platform set that Prime Minister Taro Aso's ruling Liberal Democratic Party unveiled the same day. (Kyodo via AP Images) Kyodo via AP Images

A North Carolina judge said Wednesday that Rebekah Revels should be allowed keep her title as Miss North Carolina.

Revels, 24, resigned in July after Miss America officials received an e-mail from her ex-boyfriend, Tosh Welch, saying there were compromising photos of her.

The judge says topless photos of Revels - if they exist - are not a violation of her contract with pageant officials.

Last week, the judge issued a temporary restraining order returning the crown to Revels. His action Wednesday turned that temporary order into a preliminary injunction.

It's not clear if the ruling means that Revels will be allowed to compete as North Carolina's representative in the Miss America pageant.

The judge's ruling affects her claim against the North Carolina pageant. She has a separate lawsuit against the Miss America pageant, which is scheduled for a hearing Thursday.

The earlier testimony by Revels disputed that of a pageant official, who said earlier that Revels had told him that the shots were taken during "an intimate situation" with no mention that she was an unwilling participant.

Revels testified Wednesday that the photos were taken as she was changing clothes.

"Of course I didn't want a picture taken of me," she testified under questioning by her attorney.

First runner-up Misty Clymer was crowned Miss North Carolina and held the title until last week, when a judge returned it to Revels.

But her attorney said in closing arguments that Revels didn't really resign. He says that she was actually fired because the pageant board had already voted to fire her when it offered her the choice of resigning or being fired.

And no one has actually seen the photos. Revels testified that she doesn't even know if they exist any more.

Revels has since broken up with Welch and recently sued him.

Pageant executive director Alan Clouse testified Tuesday that Revels said she didn't see anything wrong with the topless photos because she intended at the time to marry Welch.

"When we asked her, she didn't indicate it was against her will at all," Clouse said.

Clouse said the photos showed Revels had shared a one-bedroom apartment with Welch. The pictures and the cohabitation violated the pageant contract's morals clause, Clouse said.

In closing arguments, her attorney, Barry Nakell, said the state pageant's morals contract doesn't specifically refer to nude photos and doesn't apply to events that occurred before someone is crowned.

He also argued that Revels' resignation was "a product of duress, if not coercion" because the pageant board had voted to fire her before seeking her resignation.

He said national officials feared another nude-picture scandal like the one in 1984 that forced the resignation of Vanessa Williams, the first black Miss America.

  • Sue Chan

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