SAN FRANCISCO, June 9 (UPI) -- A judge in San Francisco ruled a teacher from the Philippines could stay in the United States after he testified he had been molested as a child by other boys.
Philip Belarmino, 43, said he feared going back to the Philippines would amount to "being hurled back to that world of cruelty," the San Jose Mercury News reported Tuesday.
Immigration Judge Loreto Geisse granted Belarmino political asylum last month. The Justice Department can appeal his decision but had not yet said whether it will.
Belarmino, who is homosexual, entered the United States on a visitor's visa. His parents and sister are legal residents of the San Francisco area.
Karen Musalo, director of the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies at the University of California Hastings College of Law, said asylum claims based on fear of persecution for sexual orientation have a firm legal basis.
"These cases are very challenging and they're very difficult to win," she said.
Belarmino, a professor of English in the Philippines, got a lawyer when his visa expired in 2006.