Relatively early on during Hastert's speakership, Rep. Mel Watt (D-N.C.) was approached with news about the alleged abuse, according to a source with knowledge of the conversation that took place with Watt. The source spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the matter. According to the source, the person who approached Watt was an intermediary for the family of the abuse victim and knew the North Carolina congressman informally.
"Over 15 years ago I heard an unseemly rumor from someone who, contrary to what has been reported, was not an intermediary or advocate for the alleged victim's family. It would not be the first nor last time that I, as a Member of Congress, would hear rumors or innuendoes about colleagues. I had no direct knowledge of any abuse by former Speaker Hastert and, therefore, took no action."