Victims to speak in court in Chasing Horse's sex abuse case
Former actor Nathan Lee Chasing His Horse, also known as Nathan Chasing Horse, appears in North Las Vegas Justice Court, Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023, in North Las Vegas, Nev. Chasing Horse was arrested Jan. 31 on possible charges related to sex trafficking, sexual assault of a child younger than 16 and child abuse, according to court records. (AP Photo/Ty O'Neil)
Rio Yamat, The Associated Press
Published Monday, February 6, 2023 9:14AM EST
Last Updated Monday, February 6, 2023 9:14AM EST
NORTH LAS VEGAS, Nev. (AP) — Victims, police detectives and federal agents are expected to speak in court Monday before a judge decides whether to grant bail to a former “Dances With Wolves” actor accused of sexually abusing Indigenous girls and leading a cult during a period spanning two decades.
Nathan Chasing Horse, 46, faces charges of sex trafficking, sexual assault and child abuse after his arrest last Tuesday near the North Las Vegas home he shares with his wives. He has not been formally charged in the case.
He appeared briefly in court Thursday in North Las Vegas for the first time but did not speak as his public defenders invoked on his behalf his right to a detention hearing, citing Nevada case law that requires prosecutors to present convincing evidence as to why a defendant should remain in custody.
Clark County Chief Deputy District Attorney Jessica Walsh told the judge Thursday that she expected Las Vegas police detectives, FBI special agents and victims to speak at Monday's hearing.
North Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Natalie Tyrrell could also hear from Chasing Horse's relatives, who attended his first court hearing last week and filled up an entire row in the courtroom gallery in a show of support.
Known for his role as young Sioux tribe member Smiles a Lot in Kevin Costner's Oscar-winning film, Chasing Horse built a reputation for himself among tribes across the United States and in Canada as a “medicine man” who performed healing ceremonies. He was born on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota, which is home to the Sicangu Sioux, one of the seven tribes of the Lakota nation.
In a 50-page search warrant obtained by The Associated Press, police described Chasing Horse as the leader of a cult known as The Circle, whose followers believed he could communicate with higher powers.
Police said he abused his position, physically and sexually assaulted Indigenous girls and took underage wives over two decades.
According to the warrant, Chasing Horse trained his wives to use firearms and instructed them to “shoot it out” with police officers if they tried to “break their family apart.” If that failed, or if he was ever to be arrested or die unexpectedly, he told his wives to take “suicide pills,” the document said.
SWAT officers and detectives took Chasing Horse into custody last week and cleared the family’s home without incident.
Detectives who searched the property found guns, 41 pounds (18.5 kilograms) of marijuana and psilocybin mushrooms, and a memory card with multiple videos of sexual assaults, according to an arrest report released Wednesday.
Additional charges could be filed related to the videos, the report said.
Las Vegas police said in the search warrant that at least six victims had been identified, including one who was 13 when she says she was abused and another who says she was offered to him as a “gift” when she was 15.
Police said the crimes date to the early 2000s and span multiple states, including South Dakota, Montana and Nevada, where he has lived for about a decade.
His arrest came nearly a decade after he was banished from the Fort Peck Reservation in Poplar, Montana, amid similar allegations.