Vincent Bosca will be registered as a sex offender until 2027. (Michigan Sex Offender Registry)

On June 13, 2011, Vincent Bosca and his teen son hatched a plan.

Bosca suspected that a group of teen boys had broken into his Sterling Heights, Mich., home where he was illegally growing marijuana. They had stolen drugs and and cash four days earlier, but Bosca didn’t plan to go to the police.

Instead, he and his son lured the 15- and 16-year-old boys back to the house with the promise of an ounce of free weed.

In a text message, Bosca summoned two other associates, Gerald King and Allen Brontkowski, to help with the scheme. “Bring a gun,” he told them, according to the Macomb Daily.

For several hours, Bosca, King and Brontkowski kept the four teens in the basement of the home. There, according to court testimony, the boys — classmates of Bosca’s son at Dakota High School — endured a campaign of terror.

They were threatened with sharp objects, including a circular power saw, and hit with the cover of a samurai sword; one of the boys was pistol-whipped, according to ABC affiliate WXYZ. None of the teens sustained serious physical injuries; but during the subsequent criminal proceedings against Bosca, King and Brontkowski, the families of the boys accused the men of creating lasting psychological trauma.

In 2012, Bosca was sentenced to nearly seven years in prison for the incident, which Circuit Court Judge David Viviano denounced as “appalling, offensive and illegal behavior.”

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Bosca was also forced to register as a sex offender, a perplexing but not entirely uncommon occurrence.

There was no sex crime committed — that much everyone agrees on. But the law in several states, including Michigan, makes it possible for people accused of crimes that are not sexual in nature to be labeled as sex offenders for years — sometimes for life.

In Michigan, one such offense is the “unlawful imprisonment” of a minor.

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Vincent Bosca, left, and Allen Brontkowski appear for their sentencings Thursday in Macomb County Circuit Court in Mount Clemens. (Courtesy: Macomb Daily/David N. Posavetz) Vincent Bosca, left, and Allen Brontkowski appear in Macomb County Circuit Court. (Courtesy of Macomb Daily/David N. Posavetz)

Repeatedly, courts in other states — such as Georgia, Kentucky and New York — have upheld sentences that require registration in a sex-offender database for people convicted of certain nonviolent crimes, as long as they are specified in the law.

For that reason — and several others — a Michigan Appeals Court upheld Bosca’s sentence in a decision last week, rejecting the argument that his constitutional rights were violated as a result of the sentence.

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But after nearly 20 pages of discussion about the legal justification for upholding the sex offender registration requirement in Bosca’s sentence, a panel of three judges acknowledged that “the number of pages that were required for us to properly articulate that conclusion” gave them “pause.”

“There nonetheless remains something troubling about the fact that defendant, while an offender who may properly and constitutionally be required to register in furtherance of the purpose of [Sex Offenders Registration Act], is deemed a ‘sex offender’ even though the offenses of which he was convicted, including the offenses for which he is required to register, as well as the conduct underlying them, were wholly non-sexual in nature,” the judges wrote.

And they went further to recommend that the state legislature do something to rectify the fact that a person can be labeled a “sex offender” for committing a crime that has nothing to do with sex.

One possible solution, they wrote, could be to clarify the law’s title to make it something more reflective of its actual intent — for example: “Child Offenders and Sex Offenders Registration Act.” Or, they suggested, lawmakers could better define sex offenders in the law, or perhaps create two databases, to separate sex offenders from child offenders.

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Bosca’s lawyer, Lawrence Katz, told The Washington Post that he had hoped the court would “correct this disservice to the general public, which is mislead into believing that individuals who committed no sexual offense at all are sex offenders.”

With the stigma and, in some cases, life-altering restrictions that come along with that designation, much is at stake, Katz said.

“No non-sex offender would appreciate the requirement of having to register as a sex offender,” he said.

But, as the court noted, laws aren’t unconstitutional just because they are “undesirable, unfair, unjust … inhumane” or just plain old counter-intuitive. So Bosca’s conviction stands and he’ll remain registered as a sex offender until 2027 — unless Michigan lawmakers take the appeals court’s advice.

Katz said that he intends to recommend that his client petition for leave to appeal this latest decision.