LAS VEGAS (AP) – The sexual abuse trial of a “Dances with Wolves” actor in Nevada accused of abusing Indigenous women and girls for more than a decade is indefinitely postponed, a state judge announced Wednesday. .
Nathan Chasing Horse, 46, was originally scheduled for trial on May 1. He is charged with 18 felonies, including sexual assault of a minor, kidnapping, obscenity and child abuse.
Shortly after he was indicted by a grand jury in Las Vegas in February, Chasing Horse invoked his right to trial within 60 days. But on Wednesday, his public defender, Christy Holston, asked for a pause in proceedings while they ask the Nevada Supreme Court to defer his indictment.
Clark County District Judge Carly Kearney said she would set a new trial date if the high court upheld its recent decision to deny Chasing Horse’s request to dismiss the case. Chasing Horse and his lawyers argued that the two women he identified as his victims wanted to have sex with him.
In her ruling released Friday, Kearney said state prosecutors presented enough evidence for “a reasonable grand juror to conclude that sexual assault occurred.” Investigators found evidence tying Chasing Horse to psilocybin mushrooms during a search of his home.
Holston and lead prosecutor Stacey Collins declined to comment further after the hearing.
Kearney set a new hearing for May 10 to examine the status of Chasing Horse’s appeal to the High Court, which was yet to be filed on Wednesday.
Chasing Horse was born on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota and is widely known for his portrayal in Kevin Costner’s 1990 film Smile a Lot.
But police and prosecutors have said that in the decades since he appeared in the Oscar-winning film, Chasing Horse marketed himself to tribes nationwide as a medicine man with healing powers who could communicate with higher beings. They accused him of leading a cult, reaching out to vulnerable girls and women, and using his position to take underage wives in the early 2000s.
Horse’s indictment in state court stems from allegations made by two women — including one who says she was 14 when the sexual abuse began — but court records show authorities have filed at least one case in the US and Canada. Four other victims have been identified.
The former actor’s arrest on January 31 in Nevada shocked the entire Indian Country and led to more criminal charges in other jurisdictions, including the US District Court in Canada and Nevada, as well as the Fort Peck Indian Reservation in Montana.
Chasing Horse is being held on $300,000 bail in a Las Vegas county jail. If he posts bail, he is likely to be turned over to federal authorities in Nevada.
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