LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The Nevada Supreme Court heard oral arguments presented in front of Justice Patricia Lee, Justice Douglas Herndon, and Justice Ron D. Parraguirre on Wednesday morning as accused sexual predator Nathan Chasing Horse asked the state’s high court to drop charges against him.
The “Dances with Wolves” actor is charged with 18 counts in Clark County District Court in connection with alleged sexual abuse against two women.
A jury trial remains on hold pending the Nevada Supreme Court’s decision.
Clark County Public Defender Kristy Holston, who represents Chasing Horse filed an appeal to the Nevada Supreme Court in May.
Holston argued that prosecutors failed to present evidence that both women did not consent to sexual encounters.
On Wednesday, Holston presented several points and argued that prosecutors should not have presented the grand jury with information about the definition of grooming before the grand jury decided to indict Chasing Horse.
She also argued that consent is an issue and that the alleged victims never expressed non-consent to Chasing Horse. She asked the NV Supreme Court to review each charge.
“Nathan’s spiritual authority over his followers does not invalidate their consent to sex and that’s why his spiritual authority alone and the unequal power dynamics cannot create the basis of a sex assault,” Holston stated.
Clark County Chief Deputy District Attorney William Rowles argued that the charges should not be dropped.
Chasing Horse was not in court on Wednesday, however, his supporters, including his father were in the courtroom.
Seventeen counts in the indictment are related to the alleged long-term sexual abuse of a woman, Corena Leone who said she was a former wife, who was also in the courtroom on Wednesday.
In an exclusive interview with the 8 News Now Investigators, Leone, formerly Corena Chasing Horse previously addressed the argument about non-consent.
Leone also said that Chasing Horse first sexually assaulted her when she was 14 years old. She said that she was seeking help from the self-proclaimed “Medicine Man” to help heal her mother who had cancer.
“That is a pervert. That is a child molester,” Leone said. “While I did choose to save my mom, I didn’t choose what he did.”
“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.
Several charges are related to the continued abuse that Leone said she suffered.
One count in the indictment is related to an alleged sexual assault of an adult woman.
Both women said that Chasing Horse manipulated them through their spiritual beliefs.
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.
Clark County Chief Deputy District Attorney Stacy Kollins said that she was “offended” by Holston’s claims of “transactional sex” and a lack of non-consent.
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, Chasing Horse was indicted by a grand jury in Clark County 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.”
Las Vegas Metro Police investigated Chasing Horse and executed a search warrant at his North Las Vegas home where he lived with several wives in January. He was taken into custody.
The 8 News Now Investigators have learned that similar allegations against Chasing Horse have previously been made, but did not result in an arrest.
The Las Vegas case is the first of several to move forward against Chasing Horse. He faces federal charges along with warrants in Montana and Canada. He also has previously been banned from several reservations.
Chasing Horse previously invoked his right to a speedy trial. He is currently being held in the Clark County Detention Center in downtown Las Vegas. His bail was set at $300,000.
On Wednesday, no decision was made in court. A jury trial remains on hold pending the Nevada Supreme Court’s decision.
To reach investigative reporter Vanessa Murphy with any tips or information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline, call 1-800-656-4673.