A Liberian man who helped lead a faction accused of torture killings and recruiting child soldiers during the West African country's civil war has been ordered removed from the United States, where he raised a family and worked as a public school administrator in upstate New York.
The immigration judge's ruling Monday followed a 2010-2011 trial at which U.S. Immigration and Customs authorities said George Boley Sr., 62, committed atrocities in Liberia in the 1990s and was in the U.S. without valid documents.
"This historic immigration judge's ruling is the culmination of extensive efforts by Homeland Security Investigations special agents and ICE attorneys to bring George Boley to justice for his crimes," ICE Director John Morton said.
Boley has been held at a federal detention facility outside Buffalo for more than two years.
The removal order is the first obtained by ICE under the Child Soldiers Accountability Act of 2008, which added the recruitment and use of child soldiers as grounds for deportation, ICE said.
The judge also found Boley inadmissible based on the government's allegations he committed extrajudicial killings in Liberia and had abandoned his lawful permanent resident status. His family adamantly denies the allegations.
"The United States has always been a place of refuge and freedom from oppression for millions," Morton said. "We must ensure that those who come here seeking freedom and the rule of law do not have to fear that their persecutor may become their neighbor."
Reached by phone after the ruling, Boley's son, George Boley Jr., said the judge had ignored important evidence presented on his father's behalf and said none of the specific allegations brought against him were corroborated by credible evidence.
Boley Sr. was the political leader of the Liberian Peace Council, Boley Jr. said. "He had no knowledge of the military operations and what transpired."
Immigration officials said the LPC burned to death dozens of captives and villagers in 1994 and massacred 27 others during an attack in 1995. Boley also is accused of authorizing the executions of seven of his fighters.
Boley was arrested in 2010 while living near Rochester.
He has 30 days to appeal the deportation ruling.