A man whose abuse of teenagers came to light after one of his victims underwent hypnotherapy has been jailed for six months.
Thomas Hepburn, 62, was previously found guilty of two charges of lewd, indecent and libidinous behaviour.
The allegations only came to light in 2019 after one girl he abused in Glenrothes between February 1989 and February 1993 underwent hypnotherapy and counselling.
It emerged that after drinking, he would sneak into a room where the girl – then aged between 12 and 16 – was in bed and touched her intimately and force her to touch his private parts.
He also followed her into a bathroom and watched her while she was on the toilet.
Jurors also agreed Hepburn targeted another girl of a similar age in the town on one occasion between March1988 and 1990.
He entered her bed, lay down lay beside her and touched her on the body over her underwear.
A third charge, alleging more lewd, indecent and libidinous behaviour towards a third girl in the early 90s, was found not proven.
Neither complainer can be named for legal reasons.
Hepburn was also placed on the Sex Offenders Register for seven years.
Sentencing according to law of the time
Sheriff Alistair Brown told Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court his hands were tied by the law as it was at the time of the offence.
He said: “It’s always difficult to deal with cases such as this when the offence is as long ago as this.
“I have to take that account when dealing with it.
“At the time these offences were committed the maximum sentence was two years imprisonment.
“Under current legislation it would be considerably longer.
“I’ve paid close attention to what has been said about your health – you have a constellation of issues.
“That’s not uncommon in cases which come to court so many years after the offence.”
He said that while he considered some of charge one to be “poor judgement”, much of it had involved removing the victim’s “sexual autonomy”.
He added the offence had clearly had a long-term psychological impact on the girl.
May lose home
Defence agent Wendy Hepburn told the court her client, who attended court on crutches, has health issues including cancer and COPD.
She said imprisonment means he runs the risk of losing his specially-adapted rented flat.
“There’s been nothing since the date libelled, which was almost 30 years ago,” she said.
“He has always led a pro-social life.
“Mr Hepburn does not generally condone the type of behaviour of which he was convicted and expresses shock at the general offending, while maintaining the position he took at trial.”
Hepburn, of Shiel Gardens in Falkirk, lodged a defence which sought to incriminate his older brother.
He was found guilty by majority by the first in-person jury to sit at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court after the Covid-19 pandemic.
Fife juries had been operating remotely from Dunfermline’s Odeon cinema.