North Dakota’s longest-serving senator is set to resign after a report revealed lawmakers exchanged text messages with a man jailed on child pornography charges.
“Recent news has become a distraction for the important work of the Legislative Assembly during its interim sessions,” Republican Ray Holmberg, 79, said in a statement announcing his resignation effective June 1.
“I want to do everything in my power to reduce those distractions.”
Holmberg’s term was due to end on November 30 and he had already announced in March that it would be his last.
The Forum of Fargo reported on April 15 that Holmberg exchanged 72 text messages with Nicholas James Morgan-Derosier in August.
Morgan-Derosier is behind bars for possessing thousands of pictures and videos showing sexually abused children. He is also accused of bringing two Minnesota children under the age of 10 to his Grand Forks home to sexually abuse them.
Holmberg, whose political career spans 46 years, initially told the newspaper he had read about the charges before saying in a later interview that he had not, according to the forum.
He said the lyrics were about “a variety of things,” including the patio work that Morgan-Dosier did for him. He told the newspaper he no longer had the lyrics.
“They’re just gone,” he said.
Holmberg has not been charged with a crime, and his attorney, Mark Friese, said there was no indication he would be.
GOP Gov. Doug Burgum said in a statement that he “supported” Holmberg’s decision to resign, without commenting further.
Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner said he spoke with Holmberg prior to his resignation announcement.
“At this time, no charges were filed against Senator Holmberg … he felt it was in the best interest to resign at this time,” Wardner told The Associated Press.
With postal wires
https://nypost.com/2022/04/26/north-dakota-lawmaker-ray-holmberg-quits-after-texting-with-child-porn-suspect/ North Dakota lawmaker Ray Holmberg is quitting after texting a child pornography suspect