Miss New Jersey Allowed to Keep Crown Despite Photo Scandal

Miss New Jersey Allowed to Keep Crown Despite Photo Scandal
Richard Krauss

07/12/2007 AT 05:55 PM EDT

Miss New Jersey Amy Polumbo will not lose her crown over suggestive photos, the pageant board announced Thursday.

"I am allowed to make mistakes and move forward," Polumbo told PEOPLE.

The five-member Miss New Jersey board determined in a closed-door meeting in Ocean City, N.J., that racy photos sent to them were no reason to dethrone Polumbo.

One picture, which Polumbo revealed on the Today show Thursday, showed her boyfriend biting her breast through her shirt. Another picture showed Polumbo sitting with her legs spread wide apart but with clothes on.

A person whose identity Polumbo does not know pulled the photos from her private Facebook page and sent them to Miss America and Miss New Jersey officials with a note threatening to make them public unless Polumbo relinquished her crown.

"They were there from the last four years of college. They were meant to be between my friends and I for memories," she said. "I never ever would have thought that someone would want to do something like this to me."

Polumbo said she decided to make the pictures public because "photos were being released to newspapers that were not even of me."

The New Jersey attorney general is investigating who sent the pictures and a note claiming to be from "The Committee To Save Miss America."

"I think they are a miserable person," says Polumbo of the people or person responsible. "I am praying for them."

She said dismissed any suggestion that revealing the photos was a publicity stunt.

"Absolutely not," she said. "I never thought my actions fighting against this blackmailer would lead to all of this. I've been stressed out, I am emotionally and physically exhausted from this experience. This was not a publicity stunt."

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