The victim, who felt his childhood had been ruined, thought Croughton worked for Greenwoods furniture store in Warrington.
He contacted the store pretending to be a customer in order to check it was him before going to the police last year.
The boy’s mum said he had raised the abuse with her over the years, but she wanted him to try and put it behind him.
Mr Polglase said: “He suffered from depression and anxiety and felt vulnerable throughout his life.”
He said the man couldn’t trust people, avoided places he thought Croughton would be and was prescribed anti-depressants.
The victim told the court: “The fact he laughed in my face belittled it and made me feel awful again.”
Croughton, of Capesthorne Road, Orford, Warrington, denied any wrongdoing and accused the victim of lying.
But he admitted indecent assault after the man picked him out at an identity parade.
His previous convictions include indecent exposures in 1977, 1979 and 1980, which involved him flashing at boys near a canal.
He was convicted of gross indecency with a child and indecent exposure in 1981, after performing a sex act and touching boys in a park.
Croughton was jailed for three and a half years in 2001 for indecent assault and rape, relating to two victims in the late 1990s.
He performed a sex act on a boy aged eight or nine at a flat, and raped a boy aged eight to 11, having tied him to a bed frame.
Judge David Aubrey, QC, said: “You say that to be so, but at the time of interview he was completely and utterly denying the offences.”
Mr Pritchard said his client did spare his victim the ordeal of a trial, but the judge said he had to attend an identity parade.
He said the OAP had health difficulties and would find prison difficult, but Judge Aubrey told Croughton: “Your past has caught up with you.
“Regrettably and understandably, as far as the past is concerned in respect of your victim, it lives with him, it still lives with him and it lives with him every single day of his life. In truth, you destroyed his childhood and you destroyed his innocence.”
The judge said Croughton had “an unhealthy interest in young boys” and spotted his victim before taking him to a secluded place.
He said: “Just imagine the apprehension, the anxiety, the isolation, albeit for such a short period of time, that he would have had.
“That period of time, however short it may well have been, has lived with him since the early 1990s and will live with him forevermore.”
Judge Aubrey said Croughton was “an offender of particular concern” and jailed him for five years, with an extended year on licence.
The type of sentence means he will serve at least half of the term – two and a half years – behind bars, before he is eligible for parole.
He will only be released before the end of the sentence if he is no longer considered to be a risk to the public.
Judge Aubrey told Croughton to sign on the Sex Offenders Register for life and comply with a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for 15 years.