Stephen M. Silverman
December 21, 2006 04:40 PM

Miss Nevada Katie Rees has been stripped of her crown for allegedly appearing in steamy photographs that reportedly have been circulated on the Internet.

In a statement released Thursday, Paula M. Shugart, president of the Miss Universe Organization, said: “Katie Rees has been relieved of her duties as Miss Nevada USA 2007. First runner-up Helen Salas will assume the title and compete at the 2007 Miss USA Pageant on March 23 in Los Angeles, California.”

The 22-year-old, who was crowned in October, was due to represent her state in the Miss USA Pageant next spring.

In a statement to TV’s Extra, an attorney for the dismissed beauty queen says: “Katie Rees … wants the public to know she was 19 and had a lapse in judgment.”

As for the photos in question, the statement says: “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.”

Her attorney, Mario Torres, added in statement to PEOPLE: “We think it is inequitable that Miss USA was allowed a second chance for something she did weeks ago and Katie is being punished for something that happened five years ago.”

Rees’s dismissal comes on the same day that the current Miss USA, Tara Conner, who was nearly removed from her throne earlier this week, entered a Pennsylvania rehab facility as one of the conditions Trump imposed upon the 21-year-old after recent reports of her alleged hard-partying ways.

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