By Rio Yamat
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
NORTH LAS VEGAS, Nev. (AP)- The bail hearing was postponed Monday for a Native American former “Dances With Wolves” actor who is accused of sexually abusing and trafficking Indigenous girls.
The delay until Wednesday to allow Nathan Chasing Horse, 46, to change lawyers was announced in a North Las Vegas courtroom full of his friends and relatives who had hoped to see him released on bail.
Chasing Horse, who also uses the name Nathan Lee Chasing His Horse, played the role of young Sioux tribe member Smiles a Lot in Kevin Costner’s 1990 Oscar-winning film.
Since then, Chasing Horse built a reputation among tribes across the United States and in Canada as a “medicine man” who performs healing ceremonies.
He was the focus of a months long investigation into allegations of sex trafficking, sexual assault and child abuse before he was arrested Jan. 31 near the North Las Vegas home that he shares with several wives. He has not been formally charged in the case.
He was banished from the Fort Peck Reservation in Poplar, Montana, nearly a decade ago following similar allegations.
Chasing Horse appeared briefly in court last Thursday, but did not speak as his public defenders invoked his right to a detention hearing. Nevada law requires prosecutors to present convincing evidence that a defendant should remain in custody.
Clark County Chief Deputy District Attorney Jessica Walsh told the judge Thursday that she expected testimony from Las Vegas police detectives, FBI special agents and victims.
A North Las Vegas justice of the peace could also hear from Chasing Horse’s relatives, who last week filled an entire row in the courtroom gallery in a show of support.
Chasing Horse 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.
Las Vegas police said the allegations against Chasing Horse date to the early 2000s and span multiple states including South Dakota, Montana and Nevada, where he has lived for about a decade.
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 police warrant, Chasing Horse trained his wives to use firearms and instructed them to “shoot it out” with any authorities who tried to “break their family apart.” If that failed, or if he was ever arrested or died unexpectedly, he told his wives to take “suicide pills,” the document said.
Police SWAT officers and detectives took Chasing Horse into custody last week and searched the family’s home. Investigators 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 that said additional charges could be filed related to the videos.
Las Vegas police said at least six victims had been identified, 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.