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Miss USA Officials Respond to Rigging Claim

by Krista Wick 7:02 AM PDT, June 06, 2012
Photo: NBC

The Miss Universe Organization -- which operates the Miss USA pageant -- denied on Wednesday an allegation by former Miss Pennsylvania Sheena Monnin that last Sunday's contest was rigged and that someone saw a list of the Top 5 before the show even began.

Monnin abruptly resigned her post as Miss Pennsylvania this week and with her new fraud claim said she considered it her "moral obligation" to expose the truth.

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"Many people have sent me messages requesting and at times demanding that I come forward if I know information that has led to my abrupt and surprising resignation," the 21-year-old beauty begins in a post to her Facebook page. "I witnessed another contestant who said she saw the list of the Top 5 BEFORE THE SHOW EVER STARTED proceed to call out in order who the Top 5 were before they were announced on stage… We agreed to wait and see if that was indeed the Top 5 called that night. After it was indeed the Top 5 I knew the show must be rigged."

In a statement issued Wednesday, the Miss Universe Organization pointed out that Monnin had informed pageant officials earlier that she was resigning her post because of the Miss Universe Organization's policy regarding transgendered contestants. "I refuse to be part of a pageant system that has so far and so completely removed itself from its foundational principles as to allow and support natural born males to compete in it," the previous statement read. "This goes against every moral fiber of my being. I believe in integrity, high moral character, and fair play, none of which are part of this system any longer."

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The Miss Universe Organization statement goes on to flatly deny the rigging allegation: "Today she (Monnin) has changed her story by publicly making false accusations claiming that the pageant was fixed, however the contestant she privately sourced as her reference has vehemently refuted her most recent claim. We are disappointed that she would attempt to steal the spotlight from Olivia Culpo of Rhode Island on her well-deserved Miss USA win."

Culpo was crowned Miss USA on Sunday night, beating 50 other beauty queens for the right to represent the United States in the Miss Universe pageant. 

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