A former Republican state lawmaker from North Dakota has been charged with flying to Prague to have sex with a minor
Sen. Ray Holmberg,79, was arrested Monday in Grand Forks and charged with traveling to Europe with the intent of paying for sex with a minor and with receiving images depicting child sexual abuse, according to the Associated Press. He was released after pleading not guilty to the charges.
Prosecutors say that between June 2011 and November 2016, Holmberg repeatedly traveled to Prague in the Czech Republic for the purpose of paying for sex with a minor. He also received and attempted to receive images that depict child sexual abuse from November 2012 to March 2013.
He allegedly used aliases to convince a child to send him sexually explicit images. The indictment listed two of his aliases as Sean Evan and Sean Evans.
Holmberg served in the North Dakota senate for more than four decades and chaired the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee before he retired last year following a report that he exchanged text messages with a man jailed on child porn charges.
“Here’s a situation where a man was a public servant and did a lot of positive things for the state of North Dakota, and now, I don’t know what’s going to come of this thing, but this really neutralizes all the good,” Former North Dakota Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner told AP.
Wardner added that Holmberg’s public service “will be forgotten about, and only the negative things will be remembered,” if he’s convicted.
Holmberg’s trial is set for Dec. 5. If convicted, he faces up to 30 years in prison.