LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – Ren Leone recalled listening to oral arguments at the Nevada Supreme Court on Nov. 15, as an attorney for Nathan Chasing Horse, the man accused of sexually abusing her pushed for the charges against him to be dropped.
“It was very nerve-racking,” Leone said during an interview with the 8 News Now Investigators.
The Dances with Wolves actor is charged with 18 counts in Clark County District Court in connection with alleged sexual abuse against two women, including Leone.
A jury trial remained on hold pending the Nevada Supreme Court’s decision.
Clark County Public Defender Kristy Holston, who represents Chasing Horse filed an appeal to the Nevada Supreme Court in May.
Holston argued that prosecutors failed to present evidence that both women did not consent to sexual encounters.
Leone said Chasing Horse first sexually assaulted her when she was 14 years old while she was seeking help from the self-proclaimed medicine man to heal her mother from cancer.
“This was someone that took a huge chunk of my life away from me because of my inability to be able to say ‘no’ and he took that option to have a ‘no’ away from me for so many years,” Leone said. “It’s never pleasant hearing that when you were 14 and still considered that you gave consent.”
Holston also argued that prosecutors should not have presented the grand jury with information about grooming.
Women who have left Chasing Horse’s group known as “The Circle” told the 8 News Now Investigators that he manipulated victims for years through spiritual abuse.
Lynnette Adams is the mother of the second alleged victim identified in Clark County.
“I’m very betrayed by his actions and his assault on my daughter and then also his manipulation and the pain that he’s caused in my life for a long, long period of time,” Adams told the 8 News Now Investigators.
Melissa Leone, the mother of Ren Leone expressed concern about Holston’s tenacity as she presented her argument in Nevada’s high court.
“It makes you feel like the bully over there is going to win,” she said.
Holston asked the Nevada Supreme Court to review each charge.
“Nathan’s spiritual authority over his followers does not invalidate their consent to sex and that’s why his spiritual authority alone and the unequal power dynamics cannot create the basis of a sex assault,” Holston stated.
Clark County Chief Deputy District Attorney William Rowles argued that the charges should not be dropped.
Chasing Horse remained in jail in downtown Las Vegas. His bail was previously set at $300,000.
On Feb. 22, Chasing Horse was indicted by a grand jury in Clark County 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. Clark County District Court Judge Carli Kierny later dropped one drug charge.
Las Vegas Metro Police investigated Chasing Horse and executed a search warrant at his North Las Vegas home where he lived with several women who were referred to as his 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.
While the alleged victims wait for the Nevada Supreme Court’s decision, they tried to remain hopeful. Ren Leone said that she is trying to cope with trauma, and is trying to adjust to her new normal.
“It’s so much beauty, and so much hard all rolled into one where it’s this strange sense of gratitude, but also feeling like I don’t deserve it still,” Leone said. “I think that’s why I’m still fighting so hard. It’s like maybe, maybe doing this for other people and doing this and speaking up, even though makes me uncomfortable and even though it hurts, maybe it’ll make it worth it, you know?”
To reach investigative reporter Vanessa Murphy with any tips or information, email email@example.com.
To contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline, call 1-800-656-4673.