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Crime News Breaking News

Former 'Dances With Wolves' Actor Charged With Sex Trafficking, Child Abuse

Nathan Chasing Horse, who starred as Smiles a Lot in the Oscar-winning Kevin Costner film, was arrested at his Las Vegas home on Tuesday for sex trafficking, sexual assault and child abuse.

By Megan Carpentier
Human Trafficking and Sex Ring Busts

One of the actors from "Dances With Wolves" has been arrested in Las Vegas and charged with sex trafficking as part of what authorities allege is a cult. 

Nathan Chasing Horse, who is credited as Nathan Lee Chasing His Horse, was arrested in Las Vegas on Tuesday and charged with first degree child abuse or neglect, sexual assault, sexual assault of a child under 16, sex trafficking of an adult and sex trafficking of a minor, according to Clark County court and jail records reviewed by Oxygen.com.

The 46-year-old was taken into custody by a SWAT team at a two-story home in Las Vegas that he reportedly shares with five wives, the Associated Press reported.

In a search warrant obtained by the AP, police allege that Chasing Horse is the leader of a cult called "The Circle" and there are at least six victims, although not all were abused in Nevada. They add that Chasing Horse has faced allegations of sexual abuse going back at least two decades in Montana, South Dakota and Nevada, where he reportedly has lived for 10 years.

Nathan Chasing Horse of Rosebud, South Dakota

According to the warrant, some of the victims were as young at 13. Two are allegedly among his current wives; the warrant states that one was offered to him as a "gift" when she was just 15, while another became his "wife" after turning 16.

He is also accused of recording his sexual assaults and trafficking some victims for remuneration.

Las Vegas authorities say that Chasing Horse traded on his reputation as a medicine man and religious practitioner to target Indigenous women and girls, according to TMZ.

Following his arrest, the Tsuut'ina Nation Police Service, in addition to the Calgary Police Service, issued a press release confirming their collaboration with Las Vegas Metropolitan Police and asking other potential victims to come forward

"We are further reviewing all related historical sexual assault files and working with a dedicated Crown Prosecutor to ensure all victims have a voice," the statement continued.

RELATED: Arizona Man Charged With Sex Trafficking His Live-In Housekeeper After They Moved In Together

Police began investigating him in response to a tip in October 2022, the AP reported.

Similar allegations against Chasing Horse within Indigenous community predate the tip to Las Vegas authorities, however.

In July 2015, tribal leaders voted to ban Chasing Horse from the Fort Peck Reservation in Montana over what they termed threats to people in their community from him and his followers, the Fort Peck Journal reported at the time.

“The federal government fell asleep on this but I’m not,” Councilwoman Roxanne Gourneau said before the 2015 vote, the paper reported. “Will I protect our people from that? In a heartbeat.” 

Chasing Horse had planned to hold a religious ceremony on the reservation before the banishment.

The vote for banishment by the full council, which held closed door briefings with police and prosecutors about the actor, followed a public session about the potential banishment by the board's Education Committee at which community members testified about previous incidents when Chasing Horse held a religious ceremony there. Community members told the committee about "incidents of alleged sexual abuse, human trafficking, threats to tribal members, intimidation, guns being used to keep tribal members out of ceremonies and disrespecting the land on and around where the [ceremony] was previously held," the paper reported.

The executive board also heard about what was then an open investigation into allegations of sexual abuse by the actor against a "young female follower" in South Dakota in 2013. No charges were apparently ever brought in that case.

Chasing Horse's supporters condemned tribal leaders for banishing him, comparing him to Jesus Christ and noting that "there are no legitimate medicine men around the reservation and the local ones have served time in prison for sex crimes," the paper reported.

A Washington, D.C.-based lawyer claiming to represent Chasing Horse also sent leaders letters threatening to sue the tribal council if they banished him. However, as the Fort Peck Journal noted at the time, federally recognized tribes have sovereign immunity and cannot be sued in the U.S. courts without their permission.

Federal court records obtained by Oxygen.com indicate that Chasing Horse was indicted by federal prosecutors in South Dakota for failure to pay child support in 2004, arrested in Montana and then extradited. He pleaded guilty in March 2005 and was sentenced to two years probation.

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