A COUNTY man who indecently touched a schoolgirl over a seven-year period has been jailed for two years.

Paul Weissgerber fondled the girl – who was as young as nine when the abuse first started – on many occasions when the pair spent time alone at his East Lothian home.

Weissgerber, of Little Pinkerton Cottages, near Dunbar, was also found to have exposed himself to the child he had targeted.

The 53-year-old had denied the historical allegations against him and forced his victim to attend court and give evidence during his five-day trial last month.

But a jury did not believe his denials and found him guilty of two sex attack charges following the trial at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.

Two further charges of sexually assaulting a second young girl over the same period between 1998 and 2005 were found to be not proven.

Weissgerber was back in court last Wednesday to be sentenced.

Sheriff Alison Stirling told the attacker he had committed “a gross breach of trust” and the sexual abuse of the child had taken place while she was between the ages of nine and 15.

Sheriff Stirling added: “I have taken the view only a custodial sentence is appropriate due to the nature of the offences.

“The offences are very serious and they took place over a long period of time. [They] involved the touching of the girl and involved a high number of acts.

“A gross breach of trust was involved in this case as the child was between the ages of nine and 15.”

Weissgerber, who uses his middle name David, was jailed for two years and also placed on the sex offenders’ register for 10 years.

Solicitor Stephen Mannifield, defending, told the court that following his conviction Weissgerber had “a change in his acceptance” of the sex assaults on the girl and had “taken steps to prepare himself” for a custodial sentence.

Mr Mannifield added that Weissgerber’s conviction had “stigmatised” his daughter and that he was worried about the health of his elderly mother while he was inside.

Weissgerber was found guilty of using lewd, indecent and libidinous practices towards a girl by touching her on the body and placing her hand on his groin at an address in Dunbar between October 1, 1998, and September 30 the following year.

He was also convicted of using the same behaviour towards the same girl by repeatedly inducing her to sit on his knee, placing his hand under her clothing and touching her over her clothing, and exposing himself to her at a separate address in the town between October 1, 2000, and September 30, 2005.