Thursday, July 21, 2011

Two teenagers branded as sex offenders for life after sitting on other boys' faces with their bare buttocks as a prank - 21st July 2011

Two New Jersey teenagers face registering for life as sex offenders under Megan's Law for what their lawyers claim was horseplay.

An appeals court agreed the boys, who were 14, engaged in sexual contact when they held down two 12-year-old boys in Somerset County in 2008 and placed their bare buttocks on their faces.

The ruling means the boys would have to register under Megan's Law because the court said sexual contact applies to touching for the purpose of humiliation.

The judges wrote they were 'keenly aware' of the ruling's ramifications for the boys and for others.

The judges sent both cases back to a lower court to consider whether one boy can withdraw his guilty plea and whether the other received effective counsel.

In a decision handed down Monday, the three-judge panel acknowledged the severity of its decision, but said it was bound to uphold the law.

'We are keenly aware that our decision may have profound lifelong ramifications for these two boys as well as others similarly situated,' Judge Jose Fuentes wrote.

Judge Victor Ashrafi was another of the three New Jersey appeals court judges who ruled that two young teenagers must register as sex offenders.

One of the boys, whose case went to trial, said he had sat on the faces of a pair of 12-year-old schoolmates with his bare buttocks in November 2008 'cause I thought it was funny and I was trying to get my friends to laugh,' he told a family court judge.

The trial judge concluded the teenager intended to humiliate or degrade his victims and found him guilty of criminal sexual contact. Read More