HAUPPAUGE, N.Y. – Although prosecutors said Miss America may not testify against the men she helped arrest in an undercover sex sting in which she was used as bait, the Miss America Organization says the 2007 winner will help in any way she can.
Lauren Nelson, 20, of Lawton, Okla., worked with police in Suffolk County to target would-be Internet sexual predators, taped for an episode of the TV show "America's Most Wanted."
She posed as a teenager and lured men into chatting online and meeting her at a home, where police and crews were waiting. Eleven men were arrested.
Suffolk District Attorney Thomas Spota told Newsday Tuesday that one or all of the cases against the men could be in jeopardy after Nelson told prosecutors she did not plan on returning to Long Island to testify.
"Her agents have told us that she's not coming back to testify," Spota said.
But in a statement sent to FOXNews.com on Tuesday, the Miss America Organization said Nelson plans to cooperate with the investigation.
"Miss America 2007 is dedicated to her personal platform and to the integrity of the events she participated in while working with 'America's Most Wanted' and the Suffolk County Police Department to capture online predators," the statement reads. "Lauren plans to — and has always planned to — fully cooperate with the Suffolk County Police Department and will continue to champion her cause."
"America's Most Wanted" also refuted the Newsday story.
"Despite the information to the contrary that appears in an article in Newsday, according to the Miss America Organization neither Lauren Nelson nor her representatives have told the Suffolk County District Attorney — or anyone else — that she would refuse to testify in any of the cases in which she participated," reads the statement on the television show's Web site. "We don't know why the D.A. would make the comments attributed to him without knowing all of the facts."
Given that Nelson actually spoke with at least one of the men arrested during the operation, Spota said he had instructed prosecutors not to present any more cases to the grand jury until they can "determine her involvement." One case already presented may falter, he said.
Attorney Michael Brown, who represents one of the 11 men swept up in the sting, said he had the right to cross-examine the beauty queen if she contends that she spoke with his client.
"You've now made Miss America a witness," he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.