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Nevada Supreme Court panel won't reconsider ‘Dances With Wolves’ actor Nathan Chasing Horse case

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A panel of Nevada Supreme Court justices won't reconsider former “Dances With Wolves” actor Nathan Chasing Horse's request to dismiss a sprawling indictment that accuses him of leading a cult, taking underage wives and sexually abusing Indigenous women and girls.

“Rehearing denied,” two of three justices who heard oral arguments last November said in a terse order dated Tuesday. Justice Douglas Herndon dissented. Chasing Horse still can seek a hearing before the full seven-member court.

The state high court decision means prosecutors in Las Vegas can proceed with their 18-count criminal case after months of Chasing Horse legal challenges. The 47-year-old has been in custody since his arrest in January 2023 near the North Las Vegas home he is said to have shared with five wives.

Chasing Horse has pleaded not guilty to charges including sexual assault of a minor, kidnapping and child abuse. A hearing is scheduled next Wednesday in Clark County District Court.

His lawyers argued the case should be dismissed because, the former actor said, the sexual encounters were consensual. One of his accusers was younger than 16, the age of consent in Nevada, when the alleged abuse began, authorities said.

Kristy Holston, a deputy public defender representing Chasing Horse, also argued the indictment was an overreach by the Clark County district attorney’s office and that some evidence presented to the grand jury, including a definition of grooming, had tainted the state’s case.

Holston declined Thursday to comment about the state Supreme Court decision.

Chasing Horse is known for his portrayal of Smiles a Lot in the 1990 film “Dances with Wolves.”

Law enforcement authorities say in the decades since starring in the Oscar-winning movie, Chasing Horse became a self-proclaimed medicine man among tribes and traveled around North America to perform healing ceremonies. They say he used his position to gain access to vulnerable girls and women starting in the early 2000s.

The abuse allegations cross multiple U.S. states, including Nevada, where he was living when he was arrested, as well as Montana and South Dakota, according to the indictment.

One of the victims identified in the Nevada case was 14 when Chasing Horse told her the spirits of their ancestors had instructed him to have sex with her, according to court documents and prosecutors.

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Associated Press writer Ken Ritter in Las Vegas contributed to this report.