LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Nathan Chasing Horse is asking the Nevada Supreme Court to dismiss all charges against him, arguing in part that a then-14-year-old girl did not testify that she said “no” to a “sexual encounter.”
The “Dances with Wolves” actor is charged with 18 counts in connection with alleged sexual abuse against two women. Clark County Public Defender Kristy Holston, who represents Chasing Horse, filed an appeal on his behalf Tuesday.
In the 38-page document, Holston argues 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.
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, 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.
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. He is expected to be back in district court on Wednesday.
To contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline, call 1-800-656-4673.