Former Republican State Senator Ray Holmberg, who served for over 45 years in the North Dakota Senate, is now at the center of a criminal case involving allegations of traveling with the intent to engage in sexual exploitation with a minor. Additionally, Holmberg is charged with receiving images depicting child sexual abuse, as revealed by an unsealed federal indictment.
The indictment asserts that Holmberg undertook multiple trips from North Dakota to the Czech Republic between June 2011 and November 2016 with the alleged intent of engaging in sexual exploitation with a person under the age of 18. Furthermore, a separate charge pertains to his alleged receipt of explicit images depicting child sexual abuse during the period of November 2012 to March 2013.
Resignation Amidst Scandal:
Holmberg’s political career came to an abrupt end last year when the Forum of Fargo-Moorhead reported that he had exchanged numerous text messages with an individual connected to child sexual abuse images. Following this revelation, Holmberg chose to resign from his position. His arrest took place on Monday in Grand Forks, and he appeared in court later the same day.
Travel Records and Expenses:
An examination of Holmberg’s travel records unveiled a significant expenditure of approximately $126,000 for nearly 70 out-of-state trips spanning from 2013 through April 2022. These journeys encompassed visits to various U.S. cities and even extended to international destinations, including China, Canada, Puerto Rico, and multiple European countries. This extensive travel history sheds light on Holmberg’s wide-ranging political engagements.
Search and Seizure:
In November 2021, law enforcement officials executed a search at Holmberg’s residence in Grand Forks, where video discs and other items were seized as potential evidence in the case. This indicates the seriousness with which authorities are approaching the investigation.
Holmberg’s Statement and Resignation:
In March 2022, Holmberg announced his decision not to seek re-election, citing stress and difficulties with concentration and memory recall as his primary reasons. He formally resigned from his position on June 1, 2022, emphasizing his commitment to reducing distractions within the legislative assembly during its interim meetings.
Holmberg’s attorney, Mark Friese, has not issued a statement regarding the charges or the ongoing legal proceedings. This silence suggests a cautious approach to the highly sensitive nature of the allegations.
Ray Holmberg’s swift fall from political prominence reflects the gravity of the charges brought against him. As the case unfolds, it raises critical questions about the implications on his political legacy and the broader implications for North Dakota politics. The legal proceedings will undoubtedly have a profound impact on both Holmberg’s personal life and the political landscape of the state.