The former star of "Family Flip," a show that premiered on HGTV and ran for one episode, has been charged with the sexual assault of a 10-year-old girl at his Old Lyme home in November and A&E is suspending production on his new series after learning of the allegations.
State police have charged 36-year-old Christopher Dionne, of Old Lyme, with fourth-degree sexual assault and risk of injury to a child after a 10-year-old girl said he touched her inappropriately when she was sleeping at his house in November for a party. She also told authorities Dionne said something inappropriate during an incident a couple months earlier.
The victim’s mother contacted police on Nov. 27 and reported that Dionne might have sexually assaulted her daughter, according to police.
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The mother noticed something was wrong after picking up her daughter, so she asked the child what happened. The 10-year-old told her that she’d been sleeping on the couch and Dionne was touching her buttocks when she woke up in the middle of the night, according to state police.
The girl also said Dionne touched her chest and took a photo as he held her shirt up, according to state police.
He then came back and did it over again over a matter of a few hours, according to the arrest warrant application. She told them two other children were sleeping in the same room when it happened.
When the girl spoke with a social worker, she said Dionne was sitting down on the couch next to her head. When he touched her, told her not to tell anyone and asked if she was a “big girl or a little girl,” then he asked if she wanted to see his penis, according to the arrest warrant application.
The girl told the social worker she told him ‘no’ and Dionne told her not to tell her mom or “I’ll have to go to jail and (my daughter) won’t have a daddy,” according to the arrest warrant application.
Dionne eventually went to sleep in his bedroom, according to the arrest warrant application.
The victim also told police that there was a similar incident in September, when Dionne asked the girl if she wanted to kiss his genitals, according to state police. She said she told him no then too.
People who spoke with police said Dionne was in Santa Monica, California, filming the TV show “House Rescue” with his twin brother until Dec. 22.
After police spoke with his family, Dionne contacted police himself and told them the 10-year-old woke up when he returned home from a night out, so he sat next to her on the couch and that’s when she put her arm around his waist and started to rub his stomach, according to police.
Dionne said he told the girl it was inappropriate, but she continued to do it and he told her “That’s big girl stuff,” according to state police.
Then the girl started to cry, so Dionne said he rubbed her back and told her to go back to sleep before he left and went to sleep in his bedroom.
Dionne also told police that he was concerned about the allegations going public “due to all the stories in the media and the fact that he is on TV,” according to state police.
When police spoke with Dionne's attorney, he said he would have Dionne speak with police when he returned from California if he was not being charged, but he would advise Dionne not to speak with authorities if he was being charged, according to the arrest warrant application.
Dionne was arrested Monday and bond was set at $100,000. He is out on bond. The case is transferred to Part A and his next court date is Feb. 14.
NBC Connecticut reached out to HGTV and they said Dionne appeared in the pilot of a show that premiered on the network more than two and a half years ago and it was not picked up for a series. They said the show is no longer on HGTV.
A spokesperson for A&E, which was working with Dionne and his brother on a new show, said the network is suspending production of the series in light of the allegations.