By Rio Yamat, The Associated Press on December 19, 2023.
LAS VEGAS (AP) – The Nevada Supreme Court has denied Nathan Chasing Horse’s request to toss a sprawling indictment that accuses the former “Dances With Wolves” actor of leading a cult, taking underage wives and sexually abusing Indigenous women and girls for decades.
The court’s decision means prosecutors can proceed with their 18-count criminal case after months of delayed proceedings while Chasing Horse challenged it. The 47-year-old has been in custody since his arrest in January near the North Las Vegas home he is said to have shared with five wives.
Chasing Horse pleaded not guilty to the charges, which include sexual assault of a minor, kidnapping and child abuse.
His lawyers argued that the case should be dismissed because, the former actor said, the sexual encounters were consensual. One of his accusers was younger than 16, the age of consent in Nevada, when the alleged abuse began, authorities said.
Public defender Kristy Holston also argued that the indictment was an overreach by the Clark County district attorney’s office. She said some of the evidence presented to the grand jury, including a definition of grooming, had tainted the state’s case.
Holston didn’t immediately respond to a Tuesday request for comment on the state Supreme Court’s decision.
Chasing Horse is known for his portrayal of Smiles a Lot in the 1990 film “Dances with Wolves.”
Law enforcement authorities say in the decades since starring in the Oscar-winning movie, Chasing Horse built a name for himself among tribes as a self-proclaimed medicine man while traveling around North America to perform healing ceremonies. They say he used his position to gain access to vulnerable girls and women starting in the early 2000s.
The abuse allegations cross multiple U.S. states, including Nevada, where he was living at the time of his arrest, as well as Montana and South Dakota, according to the indictment.
One of the victims identified in the Nevada case was 14 when Chasing Horse told her that the spirits of their ancestors had instructed him to have sex with her, according to court documents and prosecutors.