The complainant, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, was sat in the public gallery as a judge sentenced Calderdale man Michael McGarry to 13 years for offences of indecent assault and indecency with a child.
The 54-year-old, of Southfield, Heptonstall, Hebden Bridge, failed to turn up for his sentence hearing last month and his absence prompted police to make a "missing person" appeal in a bid to track him down.
Barrister Alexander Menary told Judge Neil Davey QC that McGarry had got as far as the car park but had then had a "panic attack" and turned round.
He said McGarry went to see his son, but was later arrested and remanded into custody.
Prosecutor Camille Morland said McGarry's failure to turn up for his sentence had caused further severe anxiety for the complainant and Judge Davey added an extra two months to his total sentence for breaching his bail.
In January McGarry was found guilty by a jury of two allegations of indecent assault and two of indecency with a child.
Miss Morland said the abuse included simulated sexual intercourse with the teenage complainant who initially made allegations against McGarry to the police back in September 1990.
"The defendant was interviewed thereafter," confirmed Miss Morland.
"The matter was denied and in fact the case was not taken any further at that stage."
Miss Morland summarised a victim personal statement in which the complainant said she was in fear of the defendant.
Judge Davey told McGarry that he had been convicted of offences he had committed in his 20s and a substantial prison sentence was inevitable.
"You were able to get away with your offending by creating a climate of fear," the judge told McGarry.
"What you did to her damaged her not only physically, but emotionally as well as her victim impact statement makes clear.
"Ever since she has had difficulties with the formation and maintenance of relationships and in trusting other adults.
"You caused her further distress by absconding on the date for sentence."
McGarry, who was said to still deny carrying out the abuse, will now have to register as a sex offender with the police for the rest of his life.