Revels To Continue Reign As Miss North Carolina
Posted September 5, 2002 8:17 a.m. EDT
RALEIGH, N.C. — Rebekah Revels will continue as Miss North Carolina. A Wake County judge ruled Wednesday afternoon that topless photos of Revels -- if they exist -- are not a violation of her contract with pageant officials.
"I feel wonderful. I feel elated. I feel justice has been served today, and this is probably the happiest day of my life," Revels said after leaving the courtroom.
Last week, Judge Narley Cashwell issued a temporary restraining order returning the crown to Revels. His action Wednesday turned that temporary order into a preliminary injunction.
Cashwell pointed out that no one who testified, other than Revels, had actually seen the photographs.
Based on that, he said he is satisfied that Revels did not engage "in an act or activity that could be characterized as dishonest, immodest, indecent or in bad taste."
Cashwell also made a comment about Revels' ex-fiance Tosh Welsh, who allegedly took the topless photos and sent an e-mail to pagent officials about them, saying that he was not a "Southern gentleman."
"It wasn't anything Rebekah posed for. It wasn't for commercial use. This was a vindicative boyfriend," family friend Darlene Ransom said.
First runner-up Misty Clymer, who took over as Miss North Carolina after Revels resigned in July, was in the courtroom for part of Wednesday's hearing. After the hearing, she left the courthouse.
Clymer's attorneys filed two lawsuits Wednesday -- one to intervene on Wednesday's hearing and another to prevent the Miss North Carolina pageant association from breaking its contract with her.
"Right now, the only person that Miss America says can hold that title or is eligible to participate in the Miss America pageant is Misty Clymer," said Janet Ward Black, Clymer's attorney.
Clymer's picture is already featured in the program for the Miss America pageant.
Closing arguments in the two-day hearing started around noon. Cashwell had to decide if the North Carolina Pageant Association wrongfully terminated a contract with Revels.
Revels took the stand Wednesday morning. She said she explained to the N.C. Pageant Association that the photos were taken without her consent.
"I told them that my hands were crossed. (Why did you cross your hands at that time?) Well, of course I didn't want him to to take a picture of me," Revels said.
Revels' attorney argued his client was pressured to resign under distress and coercion.
Cashwell needed to determine if Revels was terminated from her contract without cause.
Revels said even the N.C. pageant board supported her through the ordeal.
"They all agreed that they would have me compete as Miss North Carolina in the Miss America pageant. They were very supportive that night," Revels said.
In court Tuesday, Alan Clouse, executive director of the Miss North Carolina Pageant, testified that the Miss America organization told the state pageant to terminate Revels if she would not resign.
Officials with the Miss America organization said Revels should have been terminated because she signed a contract stating that she had done nothing that was dishonest or immoral.
In court Wednesday, Revels told pageant attorneys she still does not think she has done anything dishonest or immoral.
"I didn't consent to the picture, so I wanted to make sure that I could take them back or we could destroy them," Revels said.
Last week, a Wake County judge temporarily returned the title to Revels.
On Sunday, Robeson County Superior Court judge Gary Locklear issued a temporary restraining against the Miss America organization on behalf of Revels.
The order requires the Miss America organization to allow Revels to participate in a series of events and appearances leading up to the final selection of Miss America at the national finals and to participate as a contestant in the national finals.
Locklear also ordered Welch not to show anyone the topless photographs he claims to have of Revels. The temporary restraining order stems from a lawsuit filed by Revels against Welch and grants her request to have the pictures delivered to her lawyer. A hearing in the lawsuit is set for Sept. 10.
Another court hearing is scheduled for Thursday in Robeson County regarding the restraining orders issued over the weekend. Miss America contestants are supposed to begin attending preliminary events on Friday.
Associated Press contributed to this report.