April 25th, 2024

Nevada Supreme Court will take another look at Chasing Horse’s request to dismiss sex abuse charges

By Rio Yamat, The Associated Press on March 26, 2024.

FILE - Nathan Chasing Horse sits in court, Feb. 8, 2023, in North Las Vegas. The full seven-member Nevada Supreme Court will reconsider Chasing Horse's request to dismiss a sprawling indictment accusing him of leading a cult, taking underage wives and sexually abusing Indigenous women and girls. (AP Photo/Ty O'Neil, File)

LAS VEGAS (AP) – The full seven-member Nevada Supreme Court will reconsider Nathan Chasing Horse’s request to dismiss a sprawling indictment accusing him of leading a cult, taking underage wives and sexually abusing Indigenous women and girls.

It’s the latest development in a lengthy series of legal challenges by the former “Dances With Wolves” actor that has stalled proceedings for nearly a year in the 18-count criminal case in Nevada state court – one of several cases against the 47-year-old across the U.S. and in Canada.

Chasing Horse has remained in custody at a county jail in Las Vegas throughout the legal fight. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges in Nevada, including sexual assault of a minor, kidnapping and child abuse.

The court’s 4-3 decision to take another look at Chasing Horse’s request reverses an earlier order by a three-member panel of justices denying him another hearing after they upheld the sex abuse case last December. The full seven-member court did not immediately set a date to hear additional arguments and has not indicated when it would issue a decision.

Chasing Horse’s lawyer had argued that the Nevada 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 abuse began, according to the indictment.

Deputy Public Defender Kristy Holston also argued that some evidence presented by prosecutors to the grand jury, including a definition of grooming, had tainted the state’s case.

Holston declined to comment on Tuesday.

Chasing Horse is best known for portraying Smiles A Lot in the 1990 film “Dances with Wolves.” Law enforcement authorities have said that in the decades since starring in the Oscar-winning movie, he became a self-proclaimed medicine man among tribes and traveled around North America to perform healing ceremonies.

He is accused of using that position to gain access to vulnerable girls and women starting in the early 2000s.

After a monthslong investigation, Las Vegas police arrested Chasing Horse in January 2023 and raided the North Las Vegas home he is said to have shared with five wives. The arrest stunned Indian Country and, authorities have said, helped law enforcement agencies in two countries corroborate long-standing allegations against the former actor.

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