LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Oral arguments are scheduled to be heard in November at the Nevada Supreme Court in the appeal filed by accused sexual predator Nathan Chasing Horse.
The “Dances with Wolves” actor and his defense team filed an appeal to Nevada’s high court in May arguing for the charges against him in Clark County to be dropped.
Oral argument was scheduled for Nov. 15 at 11:30 a.m. in Las Vegas. The argument should be limited to 30 minutes, per the Nevada Supreme Court’s website.
The “Dances with Wolves” actor is accused of victimizing indigenous underage girls and women for nearly two decades. Chasing Horse claimed that he was a spiritual leader and “Medicine Man.”
In January, police arrested Chasing Horse at his North Las Vegas home where he lived with several women he called wives. He is charged with 18 counts in Clark County in connection with sex crimes against two women, one of them when she was underage. Both women said that Chasing Horse manipulated them through their spiritual beliefs.
In his appeal, Chasing Horse argued that an alleged 14-year-old victim did not testify that she said “no” to a sexual encounter.
In the 38-page document, Clark County Public Defender Kristy Holston argued that prosecutors failed to present evidence that both women did not consent to sexual encounters. Seventeen counts in the indictment are related to the alleged long-term sexual abuse of a woman who said she was a former wife.
In an exclusive interview with the 8 News Now Investigators, Corena Leone, formerly Corena Chasing Horse, said Chasing Horse first sexually assaulted her when she was 14. She said that she was seeking help from the self-proclaimed “Medicine Man” to help heal her mother who had cancer.
“What happened there was rape and there’s no other label to put on it,” Leone, now 25, said during the interview. “He is a narcissist, and he knowingly does what he does and he doesn’t have any remorse for it. What he did, he knows what he did.”
At the age of 16, Leone said that Chasing Horse asked her mother if she could be his wife. Her mother told the 8 News Now Investigators that as a follower of Chasing Horse and a member of his alleged cult known as “The Circle” at the time, she thought his request was an honor.
Holston wrote in the appeal that prosecutors presented no evidence that Chasing Horse threatened either of the women, “but rather, that Nathan’s spiritual influence created ongoing and vague concerns that spirits cause intangible harm to those who defy Nathan’s interpretation of the spirits’ demands. In other words, the state presented evidence that Nathan used grooming techniques to cause the girls to have vague concerns of negative spiritual consequences, and made promises of spiritual help, to obtain consent for sex.”
Holston had argued for all of the charges to be dismissed in Clark County District Court and previously made the same argument that there was a lack of evidence about non-consent on April 5.
As also previously argued in district court, Holston wrote in the appeal that prosecutors provided the grand jury with information about “grooming,” but that “‘grooming’ is not an element of the charged crimes.”
“The inclusion of this illegal evidence, by itself, was so inappropriate and prejudicial as to require Counts 1-18 be dismissed,” Holston wrote.
On Feb. 22, a grand jury indicted Chasing Horse for a total of 19 counts. This included 10 counts of sexual assault against a minor under the age of 16, six counts of sexual assault, along with open and gross lewdness, first-degree kidnapping of a minor, and trafficking in a controlled substance.
On April 7, Clark County District Court Judge Carli Kierny dismissed the drug charge. While Las Vegas Metro Police reported seizing a significant amount of magic mushrooms, Kierny wrote in a six-page order that there was no testimony at all about who lived in the home.
“Nor was there any evidence connecting the defendant to the mushrooms, as opposed to another person who resided in that home,” Kierny wrote. “For that reason, Count 19 is hereby dismissed.”
A jury trial has been postponed indefinitely as a result of Chasing Horse’s appeal to the Nevada Supreme Court.
Chasing Horse also faces federal charges along with warrants in Fort Peck, Montana and Canada. He was previously banned from several native reservations.
“There is a lot more to these events than has been presented thus far by the State of Nevada,” Chasing Horse’s defense team said in a statement. “It is not clear yet whether the State has the bare minimum amount of evidence to warrant even bringing Mr. Chasing Horse to trial. Regardless, Mr. Chasing Horse has pled not guilty to these charges, and looks forward to demonstrating that these allegations are false.”
Chasing Horse remained in the Clark County Detention Center in downtown Las Vegas on $300,000 bail.
On Sunday, the 8 News Now Investigators aired a documentary about the allegations against Chasing Horse.
For anyone who may be a victim of sexual assault, help is available through the National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800-656-HOPE.
To reach investigative reporter Vanessa Murphy, email email@example.com.