Old Lyme television personality charged with sexually assaulting young girl

Old Lyme — State police have arrested a 36-year-old local man, who is a home improvement television show personality, and charged him with inappropriately touching a 10-year-old girl.

Christopher Dionne, of 4 Village Lane, turned himself in to state police at Troop F in Westbrook Monday to face charges of fourth-degree assault and risk of injury to a minor.

Dionne appeared with his twin brother on one episode of HGTV’s “Family Flip,” and has been taping a yet-to-be aired show, “House Rescue,” for A&E, according to his online posts.

The arrest was the result of an investigation into claims from a 10-year-old girl who alleges Dionne touched her inappropriately under her pants and shirt and took photos of her with her shirt up while she was on a living room couch at Dionne’s home.

The incident occured when the girl was visiting Dionne’s home, according to the affidavit for his arrest warrant. The girl told police that Dionne told her not to tell anyone and at one point that night Dionne had asked her if she wanted to see him expose himself to her. The girl's response was “no,” police said.

The alleged victim in the case reported the incident to her mother on Nov. 28, a day after the incident. The mother in turn contacted police and reported it to the Department of Children and Families, which conducted a forensic interview with the girl.

Dionne spoke to police about the incident during a telephone call from California on Nov. 30. His initial reaction, police said, was “Oh my God. This can’t be happening.”

He explained that he had come home from an Old Saybrook bar at about 1 a.m. and sat down next to the alleged victim, who was still awake on the couch. Dionne claims the girl instigated the contact by rubbing his stomach.

Dionne claims he moved her arm away and told her it was inappropriate before leaving the room, where his son and daughter were sleeping, and going to his bedroom, where his wife was sleeping. Dionne also told police he had had a non-sexual relationship with the alleged victim’s mother when he and his wife were “having issues a few years ago.”

Dionne was initially held in lieu of a $100,000 bond and arraigned Monday in New London Superior Court. A judge issued a protective order barring him from having contact with the girl and transferred the case to New London’s Part A court, where more serious cases are heard.

g.smith@theday.com

 

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