Rebekah reigns

First Posted: 1/15/2009

RALEIGH -- Rebekah Revels of St. Pauls, newly recrowned Miss North Carolina, began her second hearing this morning in Raleigh during which a judge will decide whether she will go to Philadelphia for Friday's beginning activities in the Miss America competition.
The hearing is one of two scheduled today in the Miss North Carolina soap opera: The first will determine whether Superior Court Judge Narley Cashwell will order the Miss America Organization to allow Revels to compete. The second is between first runner-up Misty Clymer, who became Miss North Carolina when Revels was forced to resign in July, and the Miss North Carolina Organization.
Revels' hearing, originally scheduled to be Lumberton, was reset for Raleigh after N.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice I. Beverly Lake on Wednesday assigned Cashwell to handle both lawsuits.
Cashwell is also the judge who extended Revels' reign Wednesday by ruling that two topless photographs taken of her by her former boyfriend, Tosh Welch, didn't violate the contract that Revels signed to participate in the Miss North Carolina Pageant.
Revels won the state pageant in June but resigned a month later after Welch informed pageant officials that he had the topless photos of her.
Before today's hearing, Revels said that she was confident the hearing would go in her favor and that she had a “great case.”
“I'm Miss North Carolina,” Revels, 24, declared after Wednesday's ruling, while wearing her crown. “I feel like justice has been served. I feel like I was unfairly treated.”
Clymer filed her suit to protect her claim to the title immediately after Cashwell's ruling on Wednesday.
The Miss America Organization has said it recognizes Clymer, who left Wednesday's court hearing without commenting.
“There's only one Miss North Carolina, according to Miss America rules,” Clymer's attorney, former Miss North Carolina Janet Ward Black, said during Wednesday's hearing. “Today, there are technically two Miss North Carolinas.”
Although Revels' lawyer, Barry Nakell, has suggested both women should be allowed to compete, Black said, “It's never happened. It would certainly be exceptional.”
Revels said today that she wished Clymer luck and that she feels Clymer is doing “the best she knows how to do” in the situation.
Revels testified Wednesday that Welch surprised her by snapping two photographs while she was changing clothes. She has since broken up with Welch and recently sued him to get the photographs.
Revels' lawsuit against Welch is scheduled to be heard Tuesday in Lumberton. Welch has been ordered to give the disputed photographs to Nakell.
Her testimony disputed that of a pageant official, who said Revels told him the shots were taken during “an intimate situation” with no mention that she was an unwilling participant.
Cashwell ruled the snapshots didn't prove Revels had violated the pageant's requirement that winners exhibit good moral character.
“I am satisfied that a finder of fact could conclude that she did not engage in an act or an activity that could be characterized as dishonest, immodest, indecent or in bad taste,” he said. “I can see a situation occurring where someone had posed deliberately and intentionally for a painting, and it could or could not constitute dishonest, immoral (conduct) or in bad taste based upon the arguments.”
Alan Clouse, the executive director of the North Carolina pageant, testified that Revels also said she had lived with Welch while in college. He claimed that the pictures and the cohabitation violated the pageant's morals clause.
Nakell argued that the morals clause doesn't specifically refer to nude photos and doesn't apply to events that occur before someone is crowned.
The judge seemed to agree: “Nude photos do not constitute a violation of a contract,” Cashwell ruled.

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