By Gary Craig
Democrat and Chronicle
A Clarkson man who an immigration judge determined participated in war crimes in Liberia has been deported to his home country in North Africa.
Federal immigration officials Friday announced that George Boley - accused of atrocities during Liberia's civil war - has been deported to Liberia. Boley decided not to appeal an immigration judge's February decision that he'd committed war crimes and employed youth soldiers in Liberia, and also had traveled between Liberia and his home in Clarkson on illegitimate papers.
Based on those findings, Immigration Judge John Reid ruled that Boley be deported.
"He committed human rights abuses during the Liberian Civil War in the 1990s, including mass murder of women and children," said James Spero, Special Agent-In-Charge for the Department of Homeland Security's immigration investigation.
A fact finding commission in Liberia - the Truth and Reconciliation Commission - determined that Boley should be prosecuted. A group he led, the Liberia Peace Council, was linked to the killings and rapes of citizens during the civil war.
There has been no movement in Liberia to prosecute Boley on his return. Boley's wife and children still live in the United States and have maintained that he was railroaded on the accounts of unreliable witnesses. To this day, his role in the civil war is the subject of intense debate on web sites focused on the history of Liberia's civil war.
Boley testified before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, maintaining his innocence. The chairman of the commission recently told the Democrat and Chronicle that the proof of Boley's involvement in civilian slayings and other crimes was overwhelming.
Boley's son, George Boley, Jr., professed his father's innocence Friday.
REPORTER: Just to be clear, was your father involved in any of those atrocities he was accused of?
BOLEY JR: No he wasn't. No he wasn't. . . Those were charged that were trumped up charges. They paid witnesses to make those statements and do those things. Not one of those eight charges that they brought can be corroborated with state department documents.
Investigators said they discovered Boley was in Western New York after a social services worker in Monroe County tipped them off. Boley, according to investigators, was applying for Medicaid benefits, and the worker, after performing an online search, discovered who Boley was.
Boley came to the United States almost four decades ago to attend The College at Brockport. After earning his bachelor's and master's degrees there, he received his doctorate at the University of Akron.
In the years since, Boley traveled to and from Liberia and even once ran for president of Liberia, an election in which he was handily beaten.
Through the years, he spent more time with his family here, holding down various jobs, including a stint as a Rochester City School District administrator.
REPORTER: How was he able to come here and operate freely, including working in a school district, without the government being able to find out for several years?
SPERO: As I said before, the investigation itself began in 2006. It's an international investigation. We interview hundreds of witnesses, and it took years for us to be able to gather our evidence so we could present a case that we felt strongly enough that we would be able to win in immigration proceedings.
2 On Your Side contributed to this report.