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Which former North Dakota Senator is pleading guilty to child sex crimes?

North Dakota Legislative Branch

Former North Dakota Senator Ray Holmberg has agreed to plead guilty to charges of traveling with the intent to engage in illicit sexual activity. This plea agreement, filed in the U.S. District Court, has been covered by multiple local and national media outlets. Holmberg, a senator from Grand Forks for over forty years, resigned from the state legislature in 2022.

According to the North Dakota Monitor, Holmberg admitted in the agreement that he traveled from Grand Forks, North Dakota, to Prague, Czech Republic, between June 24, 2011, and November 1, 2016, to engage in commercial sex with minors. He also agreed to register as a sex offender as part of the deal.

Prosecutors have agreed to drop the charge of receipt and attempted receipt of child pornography. They will also recommend a sentence at the lower end of the guideline, which is expected to be between three to four years in prison. The agreement allows for future charges from other jurisdictions if necessary and does not prevent civil claims.

Holmberg, an 80-year-old Republican and grandfather, was the longest-serving state senator in North Dakota and held significant legislative positions, including chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead reported that in August 2021, Holmberg exchanged numerous text messages with Nicholas James Morgan-Derosier, a Grand Forks resident who was in jail for child sexual abuse charges.


In early 2022, Holmberg announced he would not seek reelection and later resigned after The Forum reported on his connections with Morgan-Derosier.

Records show Holmberg has traveled extensively across the U.S. and to several international destinations, including Canada, Puerto Rico, and Norway, since 1999. He used state funds for trips to Prague and Europe in 2011, 2018, and 2019.

These trips were part of taxpayer-funded exchange programs organized by Global Bridges. An ethics complaint was filed regarding the Global Bridges program, which was informally resolved, and the organization returned state funding intended for future trips.

It remains unclear whether Holmberg’s criminal activities coincided with these state-funded trips. However, the records of North Dakota School Boards Association indicate that Holmberg visited Prague during a Global Bridges European tour.


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