Man charged with slapping tot out of job

MINNEAPOLIS -- A man charged with slapping a toddler on a Minneapolis-to-Atlanta flight is out of a job, his former employer said.

Joe Rickey Hundley, 60, of Hayden, Idaho, is no longer an employee of AGC Aerospace and Defense, Composites Group. Al Haase, AGC chief executive, issued a statement Sunday that, while not referring to Hundley by name, called reports of behavior by one of its executives on recent personal travel "offensive and disturbing" and said he "is no longer employed with the company."

Hundley was president of AGC's Unitech Composites and Structures unit. Keeney would not say whether Hundley was fired or resigned.

Hundley was charged last week in federal court in Atlanta with simple assault for allegedly slapping the 2-year-old boy during the Feb. 8 flight. The charge carries a maximum penalty of a year in jail.

The boy's mother, Jessica Bennett, 33, told the FBI their flight was on final descent into Atlanta when her 19-month-old son started to cry during the altitude change.

Hundley "told her to shut that ---- baby up," FBI special agent Daron Cheney said. She said Hundley then slapped him in the face, scratching the boy below his right eye and causing him to scream even louder.

Bennett said the incident has caused her family a great deal of trauma and that her son, Jonah, had turned apprehensive of strangers.

Hundley became increasingly obnoxious, appeared intoxicated and complained that her son was too big to sit on her lap, she said.

Bennett said she was shocked by the racial slur she says Hundley used when Jonah started crying. "He fell onto my face and his mouth was in my ear and he said it again but even more hateful."

Bennett and her husband are white, while Jonah, whom they adopted, is black. -- AP

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