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Downtown Billings

Billings Clinic, foreground, and St. Vincent Healthcare, center, are seen in a 2015 photo. 

CASEY PAGE, Gazette Staff

A lawsuit against Billings Clinic after one of its former nurses was convicted of sexually abusing a minor is still pending, but the bulk of the claims have been dismissed.

The lawsuit, filed in Yellowstone County District Court in April 2017, lists seven claims against Billings Clinic for what the victim says was the hospital’s role in allowing Todd Kinzel to sexually assault her. Kinzel was convicted in 2016 and sentenced to five years in prison. He is serving parole.

In January, Judge Rod Souza granted the hospital’s motion to dismiss five of the claims. (The hospital had sought dismissal of all claims.)

The dismissed claims were respondeat superior claims, which hold an employer or other institution responsible for the actions of one of its employees or agents.

The two remaining claims allege Billings Clinic should have known that Kinzel’s access to hospital facilities at all hours posed a risk of harm to others and that patients or other community members could be victimized by hospital employees because the necessary security policies and procedures were not in place.

A spokesman for Billings Clinic said that the victims were not patients of the Billings Clinic and the charges against Kinzel are not related to the workplace. 

The assault took place after hours in Billings Clinic facilities.

The victim also argues that the hospital was negligent in its hiring and retention of Kinzel and either was aware of should have been aware of Kinzel’s “pedophilia and prurient interests in child sexual abuse,” the lawsuit states.

The hospital denied the negligence claims in a response filed on Jan. 26.

A scheduling conference was set for Tuesday.

Veronica Procter, of Procter Law PLLC, is representing the victim. Attorneys at Crowley Fleck PLLP are representing the hospital.


Justice Reporter

Justice reporter for the Billings Gazette.