Although the board of Tennis NSW believed a rising young tennis star had been abused by a senior coach, it decided to get a second legal opinion before doing anything.
That opinion led to the board writing to the young tennis player, known as BXJ, telling her it would not be taking action against Noel Callaghan and it was up to her to go to police.
Craig Watson was CEO of Tennis NSW when it investigated allegations in 1999 that BXJ had been sexually harassed and assaulted by Mr Callaghan, who was head high-performance coach with the peak tennis organisation and with the NSW Institute of Sport.
Mr Watson continued giving evidence on Monday to a royal commission examining how the tennis institutions responded when BXJ complained of multiple incidents of sexual harassment from the time she was 14.
The commission heard last week that BXJ was subject to a very distressing interview by a solicitor during an initial investigation into the allegations.
That interview was attended by two Tennis NSW executives, one of whom was Mr Watson.
BXJ was so distressed she gave up tennis for good. Her mother gave evidence last week that her daughter had recurring bouts of ill health because of the way Tennis NSW dealt with her.
On Monday the commission was told the solicitor advised Tennis NSW that BXJ was most likely telling the truth and, no matter what the outcome, should be supported by the organisation.
BXJ received no support and was not told that she was believed, the commission heard.
Mr Watson said several times on Monday he could not recall details of the board meeting that discussed the advice but he "believed they (the board) believed" BXJ.
He recalled the board resolved to seek further advice from senior counsel, which advised that Tennis NSW should not report to police or the Tennis Coaches Association.
Mr Watson denied Tennis NSW was afraid Mr Callaghan would sue if disciplinary action was taken against him.
Commission chairman Peter McClellan asked Mr Watson if he was aware what he was doing at the time was "imposing the burden on a young girl" in circumstances where his organisation had a responsibility to ensure it did not harbour people who were a problem for young girls.
Mr Watson replied: "That's clear to me now."
Mr Callaghan was never convicted of any offences against young female players.