Actor-turned-cult-leader facing sex charges took teenage wife from Tsuut’ina, police allege
Warning: This story deals with allegations of sexual assault
A former actor who travelled North America presenting himself as a medicine man at Indigenous ceremonies had at least five wives including a Tsuut’ina Nation woman who was offered to the alleged sexual predator by her mother as a “gift” when she was just 15-years-old, according to an arrest report.
Nathan Chasing Horse, 46, faces charges that include sexual assault, sex trafficking and child abuse in Nevada and B.C., with further charges pending in Alberta as police await the approval of warrants.
On Wednesday, a Las Vegas judge set Chasing Horse’s bail at $300,000 US and ordered he live with a family member, submit to electronic monitoring and stay away from children.
CBC News has obtained a copy of a 50-page arrest report that details the evidence Nevada police say they’ve gathered to support laying charges. None of the evidence detailed in the report has been tested in court.
Child videos seized, police say
Police said they’ve identified at least six victims, including one who was 13 when she said she was abused.
Videos found on cell phones seized from Chasing Horse’s bedroom shows a girl as young as 11 being raped by the 46-year-old, according to police. The girl appears to be drugged and close to unconscious, the investigator noted in the report.
Chasing Horse is best known for his role in Kevin Costner’s Dances With Wolves. He also acted in Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, a film which was shot in Calgary.
But for two decades, Chasing Horse travelled the U.S., Mexico and Canada using his self-proclaimed role as a medicine man to lure and groom girls, the document alleges.
Police say Chasing Horse would befriend single mothers with daughters.
Tsuut’ina woman ‘could no longer take the abuse’
The most recent investigation into Chasing Horse began in October after U.S. authorities received a tip from B.C. RCMP.
Tsuut’ina police also became involved after a woman reported in January that she’d been sexually assaulted and sex trafficked. She told police she was Chasing Horse’s fourth wife but left him in 2022 because “she could no longer take the abuse.” Police allege he had five wives at one time.
The woman told investigators her mother was part of The Circle, described by police as a kind of cult. In 2006, she met Chasing Horse who had come to Tsuut’ina to perform ceremonies as a medicine man. The woman was 14-years-old at the time.
One night he came into her bedroom. He raped her after she confirmed to him she was a virgin, she told police.
In 2009, the teen travelled to the U.S. to live with Chasing Horse. She told police she became his fourth wife at the age of 17.
Another woman, a former wife, told investigators the Tsuut’ina victim was given to Chasing Horse by her mother. The older victim told police she was at the ceremony when the Alberta girl was taken by Chasing Horse as his wife, according to the arrest report.
After she became his wife, the Tsuut’ina woman says Chasing Horse became physically abusive on a weekly basis, breaking her ribs at one point.
Around 2014, the woman says Chasing Horse began to force her to have sex with his friends. Men he called “helpers” who lived with Chasing Horse and his wives and travelled to ceremonies with them.
Other women, other wives, told police similar stories about being forced to have sex with the “helpers.”
Several of the women told police Chasing Horse instructed all his wives to take a pill to kill themselves if police tried to break up the family.
He also trained the wives to shoot firearms in the event police tried to take them into custody, according to the report.
The Tsuut’ina woman said she was unable to take the physical abuse, so she moved back to Alberta and a couple months later decided to report her experience to police.
Investigators then contacted Las Vegas police who began to look at social media posts that suggested Chasing Horse “has long been accused of the sexual assault of minor Indigenous girls, sex trafficking and spiritual abuse.”
Chasing Horse was alleged to be preying on vulnerable girls and women long before he was charged.
In fact, police in at least two jurisdictions investigated Chasing Horse over the last 18 years but no charges were ever laid.
FBI investigated Chasing Horse in ’04
The FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) investigated Chasing Horse in 2004 after allegations were made that he sexually assaulted two girls, ages 13 and 14, one of whom was in foster care at the time.
Chasing Horse denied the assaults and was asked to take a polygraph. When police contacted him a second time, he told the FBI agents he did not want to speak with them, according to the report.
No charges were laid.
In 2015, Chasing Horse was banned from reserves in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Montana “on the grounds of human trafficking, spiritual abuse and intimidation of tribal members,” according to the report.
That same year, the North Las Vegas Police Department investigated a report in 2015 that named Chasing Horse as a sexual assault suspect stemming from an incident a year before.
‘She did not say no, push away, yell or run away’
A victim reported to police she’d been sexually assaulted in South Dakota but detectives were unable to make contact with Chasing Horse because, when they knocked on his door, a person who answered the door told the investigator he no longer lived there and refused to let the officer inside the home.
An excerpt from the police report reads: “After examining the details of the case and finding that 19 year old [redacted] had come to North Las Vegas of her own free will to meet a male that she said had sexually assaulted her, and because during the sexual incident she did not say no, push away, yell or run away, I found that I did not believe it could be prosecuted in court.”
More details came to light during the most recent investigation when police tracked down the woman.
She told officers Chasing Horse forced her to have sex with him after a ceremony and told her that, as a medicine man, the “grandfathers” said it had to happen.
She told police she cried the whole time and that Chasing Horse held her arms down.
Support is available for anyone who has been sexually assaulted. You can access crisis lines and local support services through this Government of Canada website or the Ending Violence Association of Canada database. If you’re in immediate danger or fear for your safety or that of others around you, please call 911.
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