‘Dances with Wolves’ actor appears in court for abuse probe

NORTH LAS VEGAS, Nev. (AP) – Former ‘Dances with Wolves’ actor accused of sexually abusing Indigenous girls and leading a cult must remain held without bail until his next court hearing, a judge ordered Thursday morning.

Nathan Chasing Horse, 46, is accused of sex trafficking, sexual assault of a child under the age of 16 and child abuse. He has been in custody since his arrest on Tuesday afternoon near the North Las Vegas home he shares with his five wives.

He appeared briefly in court Thursday in North Las Vegas but did not speak before Justice of the Peace Belinda Harris scheduled a bail hearing for Monday. Chasing Horse has not been formally charged.

Harris is expected to face Chasing Horse’s custody status on Monday as he awaits trial and could set bail after hearing from attorneys, investigators, victims and relatives of the defendant.

Clark County Chief Deputy District Attorney Jessica Walsh told the judge Thursday that Las Vegas police detectives, FBI special agents and victims will speak at the hearing.

Pointing to the front row in the courthouse gallery where Chasing Horse’s family members were seated, public defender Michael Wilfong said he had “great support”. His relatives declined to comment as they left the courthouse, as did Wilfong.

Known for his role as a young member of the Sioux Smiles a Lot tribe in the Academy Award-winning film Kevin Costner, Chasing Horse earned a reputation among tribes in the United States and Canada as a so-called medicine man who performed ceremonies of healing.

He is believed to be the leader of a cult known as The Circle whose followers believed they could communicate with higher powers, according to an arrest warrant released Wednesday. Police said he abused his position, physically and sexually assaulted indigenous girls and took underage wives for more than two decades.

Chasing Horse was born on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota, home to the Sicangu Sioux, one of the seven tribes of the Lakota nation.

A 50-page search warrant obtained by the Associated Press Tuesday said Chasing Horse trained his wives in the use of firearms, instructing them to “shoot” with police officers if they tried to “destroy their family.” If that failed, she told her wives to take “suicide pills.”

SWAT officers and detectives took Chasing Horse into custody and cleared the family home without incident.

Detectives who searched Chasing Horse’s property and vehicles found firearms, 41 pounds (18.5 kilograms) of marijuana and psilocybin mushrooms, and a memory card with multiple sexual assault videos, according to the arrest report by Chasing Horse released on Wednesday.

Additional charges could be filed in connection with the videos, the report said.

Las Vegas police said in the search warrant that investigators identified at least six victims of sexual assault, including one who was 13 when she claims she was abused. Police also traced the sexual allegations against Chasing Horse to the early 2000s in Canada and several states, including South Dakota, Montana and Nevada, where she lived for about a decade.

One of Chasing Horse’s wives was given to him as a “gift” when he was 15, according to police, while another became his wife after she turned 16. he.

His arrest comes nearly a decade after he was banned from the Fort Peck reservation in Poplar, Montana amid allegations of human trafficking.

Fort Peck tribal leaders voted 7-0 to ban Chasing Horse in 2015 from setting foot on the reservation again, citing alleged trafficking and allegations of drug dealing, spiritual abuse and intimidation of tribesmen, Indian reported. Country Today.

Angeline Cheek, an activist and community organizer who has lived on the Fort Peck Reservation for most of her life, said she clearly recalls the tensions that arose within the tribal council chambers when Chasing Horse was banned .

“Some of Nathan’s supporters told members something bad was going to happen to them,” Cheek told the AP. “They threatened our elders sitting in the council chambers.”

Cheek said he remembered Chasing Horse often visiting the reservation when he was growing up, especially during his high school years in the early 2000s when he saw him talking to his classmates.

Cheek, now 34, said she hopes Chasing Horse’s arrest will inspire more Indigenous girls and women to report crimes and prompt US lawmakers and elected officials to prioritize violence against Indigenous people.

But he said he also hopes the medical men’s cultural significance isn’t lost in news of the crimes.

“There are good medicine men and medicine women among our people who are not trying to commercialize the sacred ways of our ancestors,” Cheek said. “They are supposed to heal people, not hurt.”

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