A judge told a pensioner who sexually abused a schoolgirl that he had committed as “great a breach of trust as is possible to imagine”.
Alan Riddlesdin touched the nine-year-old on the bottom on four different occasions, telling her it to keep it secret.
Judge Geoffrey Marson QC said: “She knew it was wrong and you knew it was wrong, and you told her it was your little secret.
“If she hadn’t had the courage to tell, who knows where things might have gone or what might have happened.”
Leeds Crown Court heard 73-year-old Riddlesdin denied touching the girl when confronted by her family and made no comment during police interviews.
But he later pleaded guilty to four charges of sexually abusing a child aged 13 or under in Dewsbury last year.
Prosecutor Alexander Menary told the court about a victim impact statement from the family of the girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons.
“There have been devastating effects on the family,” he said.
“They will have to live with this for the rest of their lives, while the defendant has been able to move away with his wife, who stands by him.”
Riddlesdin, who now lives in St Martin’s Close, Catterick Garrison, wrote a letter to the judge expressing his “genuine, sincere and heartfelt remorse”.
Yunus Valli, mitigating, said: “He is totally shameful for what he has done.”
He said Riddlesdin had pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity, and had been diagnosed with cancer.
Judge Marson today (Monday) told Riddlesdin should be “thoroughly ashamed”.
He said sentencing guidelines meant he could not be jailed, and he must complete a three-year community order with supervision and a sex offenders’ treatment programme instead.
Judge Marson also imposed a sexual offences prevention order and told Riddlesdin to pay £1,150 in court costs.