N.D. Senator Exchanges 72 Texts With Accused Child Pornographer
We can't be held responsible for the actions of others. We also cannot control the perceptions of others.
But common sense should have come calling to North Dakota State Senator Ray Holmberg before he engaged in a prolonged text exchange with Nicholas James Morgan-Derosier. Primarily because at the time, Morgan-Derosier was being held at the Grand Forks County Jail facing multiple heinous charges related to child pornography.
North Dakota's longest-seated senator resigns committee seat. Will that be enough?
Is it even conceivable that this could fall under the umbrella of a "lapse of judgment"? We have yet to learn the contents of these 72 text messages between Holmberg and Morgan Derosier, but even the most benign conversation still has to face the perception of the public. This is from AP News...
The state charges against Morgan-Derosier have been superseded by federal charges that include possession and distribution of child pornography and travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct.
Prosecutors allege Morgan-Derosier possessed several thousand images and videos depicting sexually abused children. He also is accused of taking two children under the age of 10 from Minnesota to his Grand Forks home, with the intent of sexually abusing them.
Republican Senator Ray Hohlmberg, 79, declined to speak with the Associated Press. The Fargo Forum had reported that Holmberg had exchanged 72 text messages with Morgan-Derosier in August. Holmberg had initially shared with the Forum that at the time, he had read a newspaper story about the charges, a story he recanted in a later interview. So can the public ask nicely to see the text messages?
"They're just gone"
Holmberg claims to no longer have the text messages. He's way better then me at keeping his cache clean. I'm pretty certain the Grand Forks County Jail has records of the exchanges. In 2019, Morgan-Derosier had a landscaping business that was accused of fraud by multiple clients and prohibited to do business by order of Grand Forks District Court. He continued under a different business name. But when he plead guilty in August of 2021 to issuing a check without an account in addition to disobedience of a judicial order, he was sentenced to 10 days in jail. You can see the judgement and his extensive criminal history here.
A search warrant turns up more than 6,500 videos, files, and images of suspected child porn on Morgan-Derosier's various devices
Valley News Live, reports that some of these images originated with Morgan-Derosier. It doesn't make it any more illegal to allegedly traffic in child porn involving children you are familiar with, but it does sicken me just that much more...
Documents say detectives also found nude images of two children Morgan-Derosier knew in his Grand Forks bathroom and a pool locker room in the Minneapolis area.
Court documents say Morgan-Derosier took the two children from the Twin Cities area to his Grand Forks home for four days without their mother’s permission in March 2020. One child was 6-year-old at the time, the other was 9, documents say.
Several messages found on Morgan-Derosier showed him telling others that he ‘loved young boys and family fun,’ and talked about some of the sexual acts he did with the two boys he knew.
Ray Homberg has maintained the texts addressed "a variety of things". One of them was some patio work that Morgan-Derosier had done for Holberg. So these text messages occurred in August of 2021. In March of 2022, after 47 years of serving in the Legislature, Holmberg made a surprising announcement that he was planning on retiring.
Perception is a very powerful player in politics.
This week, just a few days following a published report about the text exchanges, North Dakota State Senator Ray Holmberg stepped down from chairing the powerful Legislative Management committee. He cited not wanting recent events to play a part in the workings of the committee. He stepped down as chairman but remains on the panel.