The Central District Court on Wednesday handed down a seven-year prison sentence to an 83-year-old man, after finding him guilty of sexually abusing his granddaughter.According to the indictment, the defendant, whose identity is subject to a gag order, sexually assaulted his granddaughter between 1988-1991, when she was under 16 years old.The defendant was convicted of raping a minor under 14, as well as counts of indecently assaulting a family member under age 14 and sexual assault against a minor under 16.In passing sentence, the panel of judges – Ruth Lorch, Tsvi Dotan and Irit Weinberg- Nutovitz – said that during the years the abuse took place, the complainant and her family lived close by the defendant’s home, and the defendant would take care of her when her parents were not at home.Once every week or two, the judges said in their ruling, the defendant would enter the complainant’s bedroom at night and sexually abuse her, while signaling to her to keep quiet.The abuse ended when the complainant’s family moved to a new home in 1991, the judges said.The judges added that the complainant only told her parents about the abuse when she was 19 and serving in the IDF, when during a fight with her mother she snapped and said her grandfather had sexually assaulted her. Initially, however, the complainant refused to tell the police about the abuse, the court said, even though her family cut off contact with the defendant.The complainant decided to make a police complaint in 2010, after undertaking therapy.Attorney Eliana Danielly, prosecuting for the state, asked the judges to impose a harsh sentence of between 10 and 16 years in prison, saying the defendant had exploited the trust placed in him as a family member, and that he had not expressed remorse.The court heard that the complainant suffered from post-traumatic stress symptoms, including insomnia and nightmares.Attorney Albert Taib, defending, said the defendant maintained his innocence even after the guilty verdict, and said he had difficulty in dealing with the complainant’s version, because she chose to complain only years after the alleged events. This, Taib said, made it impossible for the defendant to mount a defense and bring evidence, including the testimony of his late wife.In passing sentence, the judges said that the defendant had made the abuse into a routine for the complainant and exploited his position of trust.The judges said that they had taken into account the defendant’s age, lack of criminal record and the fact that the offenses were committed over 20 years ago.Taib asked for the sentence to be postponed pending an appeal, but the judges refused the request. However, they ruled to allow the defendant until May 20 to start his prison term. The court also ordered the defendant to pay the complainant compensation of NIS 50,000.