HONOLULU (KHNL) -- He loves Hawaii and doesn't want to be deported. Now, a man who withdrew his guilty plea after serving time for kidnapping and molesting a child more than a decade ago wins an emotional court battle.
Villamor Yasay did jail time. He completed sex offender treatment. He paid restitution.
"You can never undo something, okay," Victor Bakke, defense attorney, said. "But everything possible that could have been done to help make this right, as our society tries to do, he did."
But now, he faces deportation to the Philippines because of the 15-year-old case. He asks a judge for a deferral, which would give him a chance to wipe the incident off his record.
"It was simply to get this in the best position as he could for the immigration," Bakke said.
Prosecutors say Yasay grabbed an 11-year-old girl at a 7-Eleven store in Waikiki, and fondled her breasts.
"The community needs to know who Villamor Yasay is," Thalia Murphy, deputy prosecutor, said.
But supporters of the 43-year-old bookkeeper and community volunteer say he's lived an exceptional life since then.
"He demonstrated such faithfulness in the church, sir, your honor," Fernie Nicolas, Yasay's friend, said. "And I can honestly say that he is a changed man."
Prosecutors vehemently oppose the deferral.
"What about justice for the victim in this case?" Murphy asked. "All of that seems to be getting lost here."
But the judge grants the request.
"The offense is one that is very, very distasteful and wrong," Michael Town, Circuit judge, said. "But the offender in this case, Mr. Yasay, has conducted himself quite well."