A 62-year-old man has been jailed for two years for child sex offences committed more than 40 years ago.
Sean Harland appeared for sentence at York Crown Court today after a jury convicted him of two counts of gross indecency with a young girl following a trial in September.
Prosecutor Paul Newcombe said the sexual abuse occurred in the York area in the mid-to-late 1970s when Harland was a teenager.
He said that Harland made the girl perform sexual acts on him on “multiple” occasions.
Harland told her that if she ever told anyone about what he had done, she wouldn’t be believed.
“She believed the threats,” said Mr Newcombe.
“Harland clearly knew from a young age that what he was doing was wrong.”
The victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, didn’t tell anyone about the abuse until the early 1990s when she told her psychologist following a mental breakdown.
Police launched an investigation after being contacted by one of the victim’s family members about six years ago.
Severe panic attacks
The victim read out a statement in court outlining the impact that Harland’s offences had had on her.
She had suffered from anxiety, depression and “severe” panic attacks for which she had received professional help from her teenage years to adulthood.
“I’m still having counselling sessions and expect to need them until the day I die,” she added.
Defence barrister Alasdair Campbell said Harland had no previous convictions and had always been a working man.
He added that Harland, from Meadow Vale, Green Hammerton, also had serious mental-health issues for which he was receiving therapy.
Judge Sean Morris, the Recorder of York, said that Harland’s offences had had a “devastating” effect on the victim who had suffered “severe” psychological harm.
He said that despite Harland’s young age at the time, he would have still “known right from wrong” and that what he had done to the victim was a “disgrace”.
The judge said that the offences were so serious that only an immediate prison sentence could be justified.
He told Harland: “The plea to suspend the sentence would have been more powerful if you had admitted the offences, but you didn’t and you’re still in denial.”
Harland will serve half of the two-year sentence behind bars before being released on prison licence. He was also made subject to a sexual-harm prevention order, which will run for an indefinite period.