Former Republican North Dakota Senator Charged with Traveling to Prague to Have Sexual Favor From Minor

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Ray Holmberg
Ray Holmberg Wikimedia Commons

A former Republican North Dakota lawmaker has been arrested and charged with traveling to Prague with the intent to rape a minor, according to a federal indictment unsealed Monday.

Ray Holmberg was also charged with one count of receiving and attempting to receive images depicting child sexual abuse, according to the indictment, which was filed Thursday in federal court in North Dakota. He was taken into custody on Monday in Grand Forks, according to an arrest warrant.

Holmberg Used Aliases, Resigned Last Year for Exchanging Messages with Suspect Jailed on Child Pornography Charges

The indictment accuses the 79-year-old Holmberg of traveling from his home state to the Czech Republic from about June 2011 to November 2016 with intent to rape a person under the age of 18. The indictment does not say whether Holmberg traveled to Prague once during that time period or multiple times.

The allegations that he received or attempted to receive images that depict child sexual abuse range from November 2012 to March 2013. The indictment also alleges he used aliases.

Holmberg served more than 45 years in the North Dakota Senate until his resignation last year, after local media outlets revealed he exchanged dozens of text messages with a person who was jailed on charges related to child sexual abuse images.

Law enforcement searched Holmberg's Grand Forks home in November 2021, seizing video discs and additional items. Holmberg's initial court appearance was scheduled for Monday afternoon.

Holmberg, a retired school counselor, chaired the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, which writes budgets. He announced in March 2022 he wouldn't seek reelection. He cited stress and "a weakened ability to concentrate on the matters at hand and effectively recall events" before ultimately resigning.

Holmberg Spent Roughly $126,000 on Nearly 70 Overseas Trips Between 2013 and 2022

Holmberg was reimbursed roughly $126,000 for nearly 70 out-of-state trips from 2013 through mid-April 2022 to places that included four dozen U.S. cities, as well as China, Canada, Puerto Rico and several European countries, as reported by The Associated Press.

The indictment comes after Nicholas James Morgan-Derosier pleaded guilty last month in federal court to six counts of possessing images depicting child sexual abuse and one count of receiving and distributing such images. According to The Forum's reporting, Morgan-Derosier was the person texting with Holmberg from jail. Morgan-Derosier is scheduled to be sentenced in January.

This article was first published on November 1, 2023