There were shouts of “pervert” and “rot in hell” from the public gallery at Sheffield Crown Court as Neil Beeken was led from the dock to begin his sentence.
His victim, who is now 30, complained to her mother in 1991 about what Beeken had done to her over a seven-month period, a judge was told.
Her mother went to the police but she decided she did not want to put her young daughter through a trial and the defendant went free.
Years later the victim, who watched Beeken from the public gallery, decided to go to the police again when her own daughter was six years old, the court heard.
The Recorder of Sheffield, Judge Julian Goose QC, said the legal system was now much more sympathetic to people of all ages complaining about sexual offences.
Judge Goose said he had to sentence Beeken, who is a full-time carer, on the basis of the law as it was when the offences were committed, between September 1990 and April 1991.
The judge told the defendant that some of the offences he committed against the girl would now be classified as rape rather than indecent assault.
He said this, along with more severe sentences for sexual offences these days, meant Beeken would have got a considerably more severe sentence had he offended now.
Judge Goose said the victim’s mother faced a difficult dilemma 24 years ago.
He said: “Matters were very different in 1991 to how they are today.
“Her mother was worried about putting her six-year-old daughter through the rigours of a criminal trial. Happily these days the processes are far more sympathetic.”
Judge Goose said the woman finally decided to go to police when her own daughter turned six and she saw “how young and vulnerable” she looked.
He said: “She decided enough was enough.”
A victim personal statement from the woman detailed how she had struggled with relationships all her life because of what Beeken did to her.
Quoting from the statement, he said: “What Neil Beeken did to me and my family has had a huge impact on me and my life and how I bring up my children. I will never forget that.”
Beeken, of Busk Meadows, Sheffield, denied four counts of indecent assault but was convicted following a trial last month.
He showed no emotion as he stood in the dock wearing a black V-neck jumper over an orange shirt and flanked by a security officer.
As he was led away, one man in the gallery shouted “rot in hell you sick man” and also “pervert”.