A Connecticut man who once starred in a pilot that aired on HGTV has been found guilty of sexually assaulting a 10-year-old girl who was friends with his young daughter.
An official with the New London Superior Court confirmed that Christopher Dionne, 37, was convicted Wednesday of risk of injury to a minor and fourth degree sexual assault, PEOPLE reports. He is slated to be sentenced on Dec. 11, and will likely be released on a $100,000 bond in the meantime, according to the outlet.
During Dionne’s trial, which began earlier this month, a 12-year-old girl testified that Dionne touched her inappropriately during a sleepover at his house in Old Lyme on Nov. 26, 2017, Connecticut’s The Day reports.
The unnamed victim, who was 10 years old at the time, was reportedly best friends with Dionne’s daughter, who was the same age as her. She said on the stand that she was sleeping on a couch in the Dionne family’s home when Dionne came into the room at around 1:30 a.m. and touched her bottom and her breasts underneath her pajamas and asked her if she’d like to engage in a sex act with him, all while his daughter slept on another couch in the same room, according to the outlet.
The unnamed victim also said Dionne held her shirt up and took a photo of her on his phone, according to an arrest warrant obtained by PEOPLE. She claimed that Dionne asked her if she wanted to see his genitals, and said to her, “Are you a big girl or a little girl?”
The victim reported that Dionne eventually left and retreated to his room after she spurned his advances, which she said happened several hours apart, according to PEOPLE. She claimed that it was not Dionne’s first time behaving inappropriately; she said in September 2017, he asked her if she’d like to kiss his genitals, according to the outlet.
After the girl returned home following the November incident, she told her mother, who then contacted the family’s therapist, who reported the allegations to the Department of Children and Families, according to The Day.
Before his conviction, Dionne pleaded not guilty to the charges against him and declined offers from the prosecution to plead guilty to lesser charges in an effort to reach a resolution, the outlet reports.
Dionne starred in a pilot episode of a home remodeling show called “Family Slip,” which aired on HGTV for one episode four years ago, PEOPLE reports. In a statement obtained by the outlet, a representative from the network commented on the matter, saying, “The individual referenced appeared in a pilot that premiered on our network in 2015. The pilot was not picked up for series.”
Dionne also filmed another home remodeling show for A&E called “House Rescue,” according to PEOPLE. When police came to his house on Nov. 20, 2017 to question him about the molestation allegations, he was in California filming the show with his twin brother; when he spoke with police on the phone, he did admit to a late-night interaction with the child, but claimed that it unfolded differently, the outlet reports.
The girl was awake when he came home that night, he claimed, and she put her arm around his middle, rubbing his stomach; he alleged that he told her to stop because it was “inappropriate” and “big girl stuff.”
After learning of the claims against him, A&E halted production of the show, NBC Connecticut reported last January.
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