North Dakota lawmaker Ray Holmberg quits after texting with child porn suspect

North Dakota’s longest-serving state senator will be resigning after a report revealed the lawmaker exchanged text messages with a man jailed on child pornography charges.

“Recent news stories have become a distraction for the important work of the legislative assembly during its interim meetings,” Republican Ray Holmberg, 79, said in a statement announcing his resignation, effective June 1.

“I want to do what I can, within my power, to lessen such distractions.”

Holmberg’s term was scheduled to end on Nov. 30 and he had already announced in March that it would be his last.

The Forum of Fargo reported on April 15 that Holmberg had exchanged 72 text messages in August with Nicholas James Morgan-Derosier. 

Morgan-Derosier has been behind bars on charges of possessing several thousand images and videos depicting sexually abused children. He is also accused of taking two children under the age of 10 from Minnesota to his home in Grand Forks with the intent to sexually abuse them.

Holmberg, whose political career spans 46 years, initially told the paper he had read about the charges before saying in a later interview that he had not, according to the Forum.

In this April 10, 2020, file photo, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum speaks at the state Capitol in Bismarck, N.D.
North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum said in a statement that he “supports” Holmberg’s decision to resign.
Mike McCleary/The Bismarck Tribune via AP

He said the texts were about “a variety of things” including patio work Morgan-Dosier did for him. He told the paper he no longer has the texts.

“They’re just gone,” he said.

Holmberg has not been charged with any crime, and his lawyer Mark Friese said there is no indication that he will be.

GOP Gov. Doug Burgum said in a statement that he “supports” Holmberg’s decision to resign without commenting further.

Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner said he had spoken to Holmberg before his resignation announcement.

“No charges have been brought against Sen. Holmberg at this time … he felt it was in the best interest to resign at this time,” Wardner told The Associated Press.

With Post Wires

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