Former North Dakota state senator, Ray Holmberg, a Republican, has been arrested and charged with traveling to Prague, Czechia, with the intent to rape a minor. The 79-year-old Holmberg reportedly made at least one trip to Prague between June 2011 and November 2016. He is also accused of receiving or attempting to receive images depicting child sexual abuse between November 2012 and March 2013.
Holmberg, who served more than 45 years in the North Dakota Senate, resigned last year after it was revealed that he exchanged dozens of text messages with a person jailed on charges related to child sexual abuse images. The indictment against Holmberg was filed on Thursday in federal court in North Dakota and was unsealed on Monday.
If convicted, Holmberg’s decades of public service will likely be overshadowed by the charges against him. His initial court appearance was scheduled for Monday afternoon. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in North Dakota declined to comment on the case.
Nicholas James Morgan-Derosier, the person who allegedly exchanged text messages with Holmberg from jail, pleaded guilty last month to possessing and distributing images depicting child sexual abuse. Morgan-Derosier is scheduled to be sentenced in January.
The arrest and charges against Holmberg have shocked his former colleagues in the North Dakota Senate. Former Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner expressed sadness and disappointment, stating that Holmberg’s positive contributions to the state will now be overshadowed by the allegations against him.
Holmberg, a retired school counselor, chaired the Senate Appropriations Committee and announced in March 2022 that he would not seek reelection due to stress and a weakened ability to concentrate.