Bail $300K for former 'Dances With Wolves' actor in sex case
Nathan Chasing Horse stands in court. Monday, Feb. 6, 2023, in North Las Vegas, Nev. Nathan Chasing Horse appeared in court for the second time after his arrest on charges of sexual assault and human trafficking. (AP Photo/Ty O'Neil)
Rio Yamat, The Associated Press
Published Wednesday, February 8, 2023 2:22PM EST
NORTH LAS VEGAS, Nev. (AP) — A judge on Wednesday set bail at $300,000 for a former “Dances With Wolves” actor charged in Nevada with sexually abusing and trafficking Indigenous women and girls.
North Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Craig Newman said Nathan Chasing Horse must stay with a relative if he is released from jail. The 46-year-old, who played young Sioux tribe member Smiles a Lot in Kevin Costner’s 1990 Oscar-winning film, would be electronically monitored and must have no access to drugs, alcohol or firearms, Newman said. He is barred from contacting any alleged victims or minors.
Under Nevada law, Chasing Horse would have to pay 15% of the bail amount — $45,000 — to secure his release. His cheering supporters declined to talk to reporters as they left court after the brief hearing.
A prosecutor had requested $2 million bail, describing Chasing Horse as a danger to the community and a flight risk. Clark County Public Defender Kristy Holston asked the judge to set bail at $50,000.
Authorities say Chasing Horse spent decades building a reputation among tribes in the United States and Canada as a “medicine man.” Authorities accuse him of abusing that position to physically and sexually assault women and girls, and take underage wives.
He was banished from the Fort Peck Reservation in Poplar, Montana, in 2015 following similar allegations, and authorities in British Columbia, Canada, charged Chasing Horse this week in an alleged 2018 sexual assault.
In Nevada, Chasing Horse has been charged with eight felonies, including sex trafficking, sexual assault and child abuse. He has not entered a plea.
After Wednesday's hearing, Holston told The Associated Press that she was happy with the ruling.
“We think it’s notable that after taking a look at the case, the judge set bail in a reasonable amount," she said.
Holston declined to comment on the allegations but said she is looking forward to Chasing Horse's next court date , scheduled for Feb. 22. At that hearing, a judge is expected to hear evidence in the case and decide whether Chasing Horse will stand trial.
“We’re really looking forward to the preliminary hearing in this case,” she said, “because it’s another public hearing where we will have an opportunity to point out the weaknesses in the state’s case.”
Chief Deputy Clark County District Attorney William Rowles gestured Wednesday toward Chasing Horse’s supporters in the courtroom and said the former actor has a “vast” network of connections in Las Vegas, Canada and Mexico.
Rowles said police found evidence at Chasing Horse’s home last week that he was “in the process of grooming young children to replace others as they grow up to be their wives.” Rowles declined to comment after the judge handed down his ruling.
Chasing Horse's relatives and supporters filled the courtroom Wednesday, as they have for previous hearings since his Jan. 31 arrest near the North Las Vegas home he shares with five women he identifies as his wives.
In a 50-page search warrant and a 53-page arrest report, Las Vegas police described Chasing Horse as the leader of a cult known as The Circle, whose followers believe he communicates with higher powers.
Police said they've identified at least six victims, including one who was 13 when she said she was abused, and another who said she was offered to Chasing Horse as a “gift” when she was 15.
Police SWAT officers took Chasing Horse into custody last week, and detectives said a search of the family home found guns, 41 pounds (18.5 kilograms) of marijuana, psilocybin mushrooms, and cellphone videos showing sexual assaults of minors, according to his arrest report.
Chasing Horse also uses the name Nathan Lee Chasing His Horse. He was born on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota, home to the Sicangu Sioux, one of the seven tribes of the Lakota nation.