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Keishla Villafane Rivera, Petite Beauty Queen, Fired By Puerto Rican Pageant

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SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The Miss Puerto Rico Petite competition stripped the reigning queen of her crown Friday, accusing the young woman of "intolerable conduct" that included threatening and assaulting pageant staff.

Keishla Villafane Rivera also used "coarse language" and violated the terms of her contract by agreeing to use her image in an advertisement without the consent of the pageant, the organizers said in a statement.

Luis Santiago Productions, the pageant company, said it was obligated to dismiss the 19-year-old queen after she made death threats and assaulted staff members. Its statement provided no details of the purported misconduct.

Villafane could not be reached for comment. Her attorney, Maribel Vidal, did not respond to messages left with her office in San Juan.

A pageant spokeswoman, Libni Garcia, declined in an interview with The Associated Press to disclose details about the accusations, saying more information would be released in a legal action the company plans to file against Villafane.

But she said problems between the queen and pageant officials began shortly after the woman won the title last August.

"We were trying to handle this conduct of hers, but it was impossible," Garcia said. "It was constant."

The production company appointed another contestant from last year's pageant, Tamara Perez, to serve the remainder of Villafane's term, which expires Aug. 26 with the next competition.

The contest is open to 16- to 24-year-olds who are 5-foot-5 or shorter. Villafane is 5-feet-2.

Beauty contests are taken very seriously in Puerto Rico, which has had five of its citizens win the Miss Universe contest.

Police last year opened an investigation into allegations that someone sabotaged a beauty contestant's bid for Miss Puerto Rico Universe by dousing her evening gown and bathing suit with pepper spray. The investigation was dropped for lack of sufficient evidence.

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