George Shaw, aged 89, of Hoyland, Barnsley, evaded justice for years but his past caught up with him when he was reported for attacks and admitted a series of offences which took place between 1965 and 1975.
He was jailed for six years and two months last Friday for two counts of indecent assault on a girl under the age of 14.
He was also placed on the Sex Offenders Register for life so that the authorities can monitor his movements.
Detective Sergeant Sam Newton, of South Yorkshire Police, praised Shaw’s victim for coming forward.
“It's hard to describe the impact an offence like this can have on a person. Shaw evaded justice for decades and I am pleased he is finally being held accountable for his horrendous actions,” the officer said.
“I would like to applaud the bravery shown by the survivor in this case. Their determination to support this investigation was motivated by the hope it would inspire others to do the same.
“Many people wrongly believe it is too late to report a sexual offence if it happened outside of the forensic window. I would urge anyone who has suffered abuse to come forward. We can work together to bring those responsible to justice.”
Speaking after Shaw was sentenced at Sheffield Crown Court, his victim, who will remain anonymous for legal reasons, said: “I can't put into words the toll that man had on me. My mental health has suffered for years as a result and I felt hopeless as he had gotten away with it for so long.
“I am truly grateful for the support I have received from South Yorkshire Police. If you are reading this and have also suffered a sexual offence, you are not alone. Reporting is not an easy decision but there are specially trained officers to support you throughout the process.”
Shaw’s photograph has not been released because he attended a police station for a voluntary interview so a custody photograph was not taken.