Heavily tattooed Jai Pennycuick had abused a young girl at a flat in Edinburgh's Broomhouse in the 1990s.
The victim only reported to police what happened in May 2020 after coming forward and speaking to specially trained officers Pennycuick, now 39, was then quizzed by officers weeks later as part of an investigation into historic sex crimes.
Prosecutor Bill McVicar told the High Court in Glasgow: "He broke down crying and subsequently gave as full an account of the incident as he could remember. "He accepted what he had done was wrong ... and that he now had to face the consequences of what he had done."
Pennycuick - a construction site labourer - pleaded guilty to a charge of lewd and libidinous conduct towards the child on an occasion between June 1996 and June 1997.
The girl would have been as young as seven years old at the time.
Mr McVicar told how Pennycuick, of the capital's Pilton, was convicted of a number of sex crimes in England and Wales in the late 90s including indecent assault of a boy.
Until he was jailed, Pennycuick, who describes himself as single, had been attempting to find a partner on internet dating sites.
One recent post states: "Hi my name is jai I'm looking for a long term-relationship. I live in Edinburgh I have no kids never been married I like the outdoors and traveling I work on building sites."
Kenneth Cloggie, defending, said: "He cannot change the past and he is ashamed of that."
Sentencing, Lord Matthews said Pennycuik was also young at the time, but that he now had to deal with him as an adult.
The judge cut the jail-term from two years due to the guilty plea and further placed Pennycuik on the Sex Offenders’ Register (SOR) for 10 years.
Pennycuick will have to notify police of any change of address once he is released from prison.
As a Registered Sex Offender he will be subject to close monitoring by Police Scotland and criminal justice social workers and could face prosecution for any breach of the SOR imposed on him.