Jury is out in Old Lyme sexual assault case
A six-member jury will resume deliberating Tuesday in New London Superior Court in the case of Christopher Dionne of Old Lyme, who is charged with molesting a 10-year-old girl during a sleepover at his home on Nov. 26, 2017.
The jury will begin the day by listening to playback of testimony from the alleged victim and from a state trooper who investigated the case.
Dionne, 37, has pleaded not guilty to risk of injury to a minor and fourth-degree sexual assault, charges that could land him in prison for up to 25 years if he's convicted. He also may be required to register as a sexual offender if convicted.
In taking the case to trial, Dionne turned down an offer from the state to plead guilty to a misdemeanor offense in exchange for a sentence that involved no prison time and no sex offender registration.
The alleged victim, now 12, who was a close friend of Dionne's daughter of the same age, testified last week that the married father of two touched her buttocks and breasts beneath her pajamas as she slept on a couch in the living room of his family's home at 4 Village Lane.
The child's mother testified that she was involved in a "sexting" relationship with Dionne in which they exchanged sexual messages and photos via texts.
Prosecutor Theresa Anne Ferryman had also elicited testimony from a state forensic examiner, who testified that Dionne's DNA was found on the inner waistband of the child's pajama bottoms, and from Yale-New Haven Hospital clinicians who conducted a forensic interview of the child.
Also testifying for the state was then-Resident State Trooper Kazimera Morse. The trooper said Dionne admitted he rubbed the back of his daughter's best friend after finding her awake on the couch after returning home from a local tavern at 1 a.m. Dionne said the girl had touched him first, inappropriately he said, by putting her arm around his stomach after he sat down on the couch with her, according to Morse.
Dionne did not testify during the defense portion of the trial. His attorney, Michael D. Dwyer, elicited testimony from Dionne's wife, Summer, and his teenaged son, who was in the home that night but did not witness the encounter.
The wife, Summer Dionne, testified that her husband's affair with the child's mother was not just a "sexting relationship," as described by the mother on the witness stand earlier this week. She said her husband told her it was a physical affair after she asked him why he had deleted texts from his phone that showed the mother continued to text him even after the child claimed he'd molested her.
"He said, 'I've been texting (the mother)," the wife testified. "'I've been sending pictures to her. We've been having a sexual relationship.'"
Dionne's aspiring television career came to a halt following his arrest. He had appeared with his identical twin brother on an episode of HGTV's "Family Flip." They were taping a show called "House Rescue" for A&E, but it was suspended due to his arrest.
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