By ADAM GOLDMAN, Associated Press Writer
1 hour ago
NEW YORK - Another Miss USA contestant has taken a tumble.
Miss Nevada USA was stripped of her title Thursday after racy photos of her appeared on the Internet, pageant officials said. Some of the photos show Katie Rees, 22, kissing other young women, exposing one of her breasts and pulling down her pants to show her thong underwear at a party in Tampa, Fla.
"Katie Rees has been relieved of her duties as Miss Nevada USA 2007," said Paula M. Shugart, president of the Miss Universe Organization, which owns the Miss USA pageant and others.
Rees' dismissal comes two days after Miss USA Tara Conner was allowed to keep her tiara when she agreed to go into alcohol rehab and a day after an anti-drunken driving group cut its ties with hard-partying Miss Teen USA Katie Blair.
Pageant officials declined to provide a telephone number for Rees and said they didn't know when the photos of her were taken.
Rees' attorney, Mario Torres, of Tampa, defended the blonde beauty queen in a statement sent to the entertainment television show "Extra."
"Katie Rees Miss Nevada USA wants the public to know she was 17 and had a lapse in judgment," he said. "The actions on that evening in subject are in no way indicative of the person she is or the person she has become. ... She is a law-abiding citizen and talented adult. This was an isolated incident that occurred more than five years ago when she was a minor."
Shugart made the decision to jettison Rees, and pageant co-owner Donald Trump supported it, said Miss Universe Organization spokeswoman Lark-Marie Anton.
Trump, who co-owns Miss Universe with NBC, gave Conner, 21, a second chance after meeting with her Tuesday. Trump said Conner, who agreed to undergo drug testing, was a good person with a good heart and deserved to keep her title.
"I think Tara is going to be the great comeback kid," Trump said during his televised announcement, with a teary-eyed Conner by his side.
Apparently, there will be no comeback for Rees, whose reign was truncated because of the photos.
Rees has appeared as Miss Nevada USA at charity events such as the Goodie Two Shoe Giveaway, at which underprivileged students received free shoes, backpacks and school supplies.
Shugart said first runner-up Helen Salas will assume the title and compete at the next Miss USA pageant on March 23 in Los Angeles.
On Wednesday, Mothers Against Drunk Driving announced it was ditching Blair, the Miss Teen USA, because it was "disappointed" by news reports that the 18-year-old from Billings, Mont., had been spotted partying with Miss USA in New York clubs.