07-18-11 STATE OF NEW JERSEY IN THE INTEREST OF B.P.C. STATE OF NEW JERSEY IN THE INTEREST OF B.V.C A-4322-08T4;A-5855-08T4(CONSOLIDATED)
In these consolidated appeals, two fourteen-year-old boys were adjudicated delinquent based on an offense that, if committed by an adult, would have constituted fourth degree criminal sexual contact, N.J.S.A. 2C:14-3. Because the victims were less than thirteen-years old, the Family Part directed the juveniles to register as sex offenders for the remainder of their lives as mandated by N.J.S.A. 2C:7-2b(2) and In Re Registrant J.G., 169 N.J. 304, 339 (2001).
The principal question we have been asked to determine is whether the conduct of these two juveniles constitutes "sexual contact" as defined in N.J.S.A. 2C:14-1d, or merely youthful "horseplay" that, although patently offensive, is nevertheless devoid of the sexual connotation underpinning the offense of criminal sexual contact. The core salient facts presented by the State established the two juveniles physically held down and placed their bare buttocks on the faces of the two victims, resulting in physical contact between their bare buttocks and the victims' faces. The trial court found the juveniles committed these acts for the purpose of degrading or humiliating the younger boys. This finding supports an adjudication of delinquency based on criminal sexual contact.
The Family Part erred, however, when it denied a post- conviction relief petition filed by the juvenile who stood for trial. Because the petition made a prima facie case of ineffective assistance of trial counsel, we remand for the court to conduct a Preciose hearing to resolve the factual and legal issues raised by the ttorney's inadequate performance.
We also remand the adjudication of delinquency of the juvenile who pled guilty because he was not fully informed of the registration requirements under N.J.S.A. 2C:7-2b(2) at the plea hearing. Pursuant to State v. Johnson, 182 N.J. 232, 244 (2005), the juvenile must demonstrate how the omission of this information "materially affected his decision to plead guilty."