HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Donald Nicol who was charged last week for sexually assaulting two women and a child was accused of committing a similar crime more than 25 years ago.
But records of that alleged assault -- and whether Nicol was found guilty or acquitted -- were purged by the state Judiciary.
Victim's rights advocates are in disbelief.
"It's shocking that any organization would destroy criminal evidence. We don't know if this evidence is evidence of crimes that have active statues of limitations," said Joelle Casteix, western regional director for the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests.
"It's a severe failure of the justice system."
Added Nanci Kreidman of the Domestic Violence Action Center:
"Without the information, how does a judge hold a perpetrator accountable?"
The destruction was largely done to make room. The judiciary said the records included about 1,200 cubic feet of documents, or enough paperwork to fill a small bedroom.
They were stored in more than 1,000, four- to five-inch binders contained records of all misdemeanors and traffic crimes committed in the Honolulu District from 1939 to 1985.
Back then, the crime that Nicol was being accused of was a misdemeanor.
The Judiciary said it consulted with the police, prosecutors and the Attorney General's office and received no objection.
But had they spoken with victim's rights advocates, they would have gotten a different response.
"It would be very useful to know if custody decisions are being made or sentencing decisions are being made," said Kreidman.
As for Nicol, he'll make his first court appearance tomorrow for his arraignment on ten counts of sex assault.
Even though his old court records were destroyed, we've learned that in 1979, a young woman who injured her leg alleged that the doctor sexually assaulted her twice.
A civil suit that arose from the case says the criminal investigation was later dismissed but the reason for the dismissal was not clear.