A former army captain argued he was being a “Good Samaritan” after molesting a 14-year-old as she slept on a train.
Michael Hunt, who served in the army for 46 years, was caught sexually assaulting the girl twice by a train guard.
The teenager was “hysterical” and “asked for her mum” after the traumatic episode, which left her suffering from nightmares for five months.
Hunt, of Formby, Merseyside, has been jailed for 10 months over the sickening abuse, the Liverpool Echo reports.
The 62-year-old denied sexually assaulting the girl in April last year – but a jury convicted him.
On Friday a judge at Liverpool Crown Court branded Hunt “arrogant” and “entitled”, declaring he “targeted” the “defenceless” child as she slept.
Judge Gary Woodhall said: “You took advantage of her when she was in this vulnerable state for your sexual gratification.
“You no doubt believed she either wouldn’t understand what was happening to her or she wouldn’t even know what was happening to her.
“She was defenceless.”
Judge Woodhall added: “Either you were disinhibited by drink or if sober you were willing to take remarkable risks in public for your own sexual gratification no doubt believing your good character and status would go a long way to helping you avoid detection and conviction.”
Citing a report, the judge said the offending took place because of Hunt’s “sexual arousal coupled with a sense of arrogance and entitlement”.
The judge described Hunt’s decision to assault the girl a second time, after having already been caught.
The judge said: “Despite having been challenged and being caught in the act, worryingly, astonishingly and brazenly you repeated your actions.”
Hunt handed himself in after CCTV images were released by British Transport Police.
The court also heard the devastating impact the assault had on the young teen, leaving her “suffering from nightmares and disturbed sleep” for five months.
Judge Woodhall said: “She had to change the way she travelled to and from school which was an inconvenience.”
Speaking to Hunt, the judge said: “As a father of a daughter yourself you must appreciate the significant effects this sort of personal violation would have on a 14-year-old girl.”
As he passed sentence the judge also commented on the delay, but noted that this was primarily due to the trial having to take place.
The judge said: “You lied about your motives suggesting you were a Good Samaritan. Your evidence was rejected by a jury.”
Paul Becker, defending Hunt, who has no previous convictions, said: “He is not just of good character, he is of positive good character.”
Mr Becker explained Hunt had served in the army for 46 years and worked both at home and abroad as a welfare officer.
He said a custodial sentence would be a “massive fall from grace” and told the court since the trial Hunt had been prescribed anti-depressant medication.
As well as his 10-month prison sentence Hunt was also placed on the Sex Offenders Register for 10 years.