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.