Christopher Dionne, who starred on an HGTV pilot called Family Flip, has been arrested and charged with sexually assaulting a minor.
Dionne, 36, turned himself into Connecticut State Police on Monday, January 29, after a warrant was issued for his arrest. The TV personality was charged with fourth-degree sexual assault and risk of injury to a child, according to documents obtained by E! News. He was released on $100,000 bond.
Officials say that the 10-year-old unidentified accuser claimed to a social worker that Dionne touched her inappropriately while she was at a birthday sleepover party for his daughter, her best friend, on November 25. She alleged that Dionne woke her up around 1:30 a.m. by placing his hand against her buttocks under her pajamas and then later lifting up her shirt and touching her chest. She also claimed that Dionne took a photo of her on his cellphone as he lifted her shirt up.
The alleged encounters occurred several hours apart, according to the victim, who also claimed that Dionne’s 14-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter were sleeping in the room while it happened.
Dionne also allegedly asked the girl if she wanted to see his genitals, asking her, “Are you a big girl or a little girl?” and warning her, “If you tell your mom, I’ll go to jail and [my daughter] won’t have a daddy.” She claimed to turn down his advances and he went back to his room.
The anonymous victim claimed that a similar incident happened once before in September, when Dionne allegedly asked her if she wanted to kiss his genitals, which she refused. Her mother contacted authorities on November 27, one day after the second alleged incident occurred. Police visited Dionne’s home on November 30, only to find that he was out in California filming a new home remodeling show, House Rescue, with his twin brother for A&E.
Dionne called the police from California, confirming that he had interacted with the girl. He claimed that she was already awake when he came home around 1:00 a.m., according to the arrest warrant. Dionne told authorities that the girl was lying down and placed her hand around his waist and began rubbing his stomach. According to Dionne, he moved the supposed victim’s arm away and told her, “That’s inappropriate.” When she allegedly did it again, he told her, “That’s big girl stuff.” Dionne claimed that the girl turned over and began to cry — he started rubbing her back and told her to go to sleep before he went to his bedroom.
Dionne’s wife told officials that he had gone out with friends the night of the alleged incident and was back in the couple’s room by 5:00 a.m. or 6:00 a.m., before she woke up.
Police stated in the warrant that Dionne was worried about the allegation going public, given “all the stories in the media and the fact that he is on TV” — Family Flip aired only one episode back in 2015.
HGTV commented on the allegations in a statement to NBC Connecticut on Tuesday, January 30. “The person you reference in your inquiry appeared in a pilot that premiered on our network more than 2-1/2 years ago. The pilot was not picked up for series and is no longer on our air,” the network said.
A&E said that they have suspended production on House Rescue, according to USA Today.
Dionne is due back in court on Wednesday, February 14.
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