A former Rotorua policeman has escaped a jail term after being found guilty of indecently assaulting a teenage girl 26 years ago.

Peter Gavin Dunlop, 55, was last month found guilty on one indecent assault charge by a Wellington High Court jury.

He was found not guilty on one count of indecent assault and one of rape.

Sentencing him today, Justice John Wild said he did not see what purpose a jail term would serve.

He ordered Dunlop to pay $10,000 in reparation, and do 100 hours' community work.

Justice Wild said he understood he might be criticised for imposing too light a sentence, but Dunlop had suffered other punishment.

He had lost his job, been extradited from Australia, and been the focus of news media attention.

"You will always have a large black cross on an otherwise unblemished record," Justice Wild said.