Las Vegas police on Tuesday arrested a former Dances With Wolves actor turned alleged cult leader accused of sexually assaulting young Indigenous girls during a period spanning two decades, according to police records obtained by The Associated Press.
Nathan Lee Chasing His Horse, who goes by Nathan Chasing Horse, was taken into custody in the afternoon near the North Las Vegas home he is said to share with his five wives. SWAT officers were seen outside the two-storey home in the evening as detectives searched the property.
Known for his role as the young Sioux tribe member Smiles a Lot in the Oscar-winning Kevin Costner film, Chasing Horse gained a reputation among tribes across the United States and in Canada as a so-called medicine man who performed healing ceremonies and spiritual gatherings and, police allege, used his position to abuse young Native American girls.
His arrest is the culmination of a months-long investigation that began after police received a tip in October 2022. According to a 50-page search warrant obtained by AP, Chasing Horse is believed to be the leader of a cult known as The Circle.
And it comes as state attorneys general and lawmakers around the U.S. are looking into creating specialized units to handle cases involving Indigenous women.
In South Dakota, the attorney general’s office has put a new focus on crimes against Native American people, including human trafficking and murders.
Allegations date to early 2000s
According to the document, Las Vegas police have identified at least six alleged victims and uncovered sexual allegations against Chasing Horse dating to the early 2000s in multiple states, including Montana, South Dakota and Nevada, where he has lived for about a decade.
There was no lawyer listed in court records for Chasing Horse who could comment on his behalf as of Tuesday evening.
Chasing Horse was born on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota, which is home to the Sicangu Sioux, one of the seven tribes of the Lakota nation.
According to the warrant, he was banished in 2015 from the Fort Peck Reservation in Poplar, Mont., amid allegations of human trafficking.
Alleged victims as young as 13
“Nathan Chasing Horse used spiritual traditions and their belief system as a tool to sexually assault young girls on numerous occasions,” the warrant reads, adding that his followers believed he could communicate with higher beings and referred to him as “Medicine Man” or “Holy Person.”
Although the warrant includes details of crimes reported elsewhere, the arrest stems from crimes allegedly committed in Nevada’s Clark County. They include sex trafficking, sexual assault of a child younger than 16 and child abuse.
Some of the alleged victims were as young as 13, according to the warrant. One of Chasing Horse’s wives was allegedly offered to him as a “gift” when she was 15, while another became a wife after turning 16.
Chasing Horse also is accused of recording sexual assaults and arranging sex with the victims for other men who allegedly paid him.