|Executive Accused of Slapping Toddler on Plane Loses Job|
|By ASHLEY JENNINGS (@ashleyjjennings)||Feb 18, 2013, 9:53 AM|
An Idaho executive charged with slapping a toddler on a Delta Airlines flight has been slapped with a pink slip, his former employer says.
Joe Rickey Hundley, 60, is no longer employed by AGC Aerospace and Defense, Composites Group.
AGC's President and CEO Al Hasse said Sunday that reports of recent behavior by one of his unit executives is "offensive and disturbing."
"We have taken this matter very seriously and worked diligently to examine it since learning of the matter on Friday afternoon. As of Sunday, the executive is no longer employed with the company," Hasse said.
Hasse went on to say that such behavior is contradictory to the company's values. He said it was "embarrassing and does not in any way reflect the patriotic character of the men and women of diverse backgrounds who work tirelessly in our business."
AGC spokesman Daniel Keeney of DPK Public Relations told ABC News, "Since this is a personnel matter, we can't describe further the specifics of Mr. Hundley's departure from the company."
Hundley was on a flight from Minneapolis-to-Atlanta, set to land at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport on Feb. 8, according to an FBI court affidavit. He was sitting next to Jessica Bennett and her 19-month-old son, who began crying as the plane started to descend.
"Jonah starts crying because he's feeling the pressure in his ears," Bennett told ABC News.
Bennett, who was seated in row 28 alongside Hundley, told FBI agents that she tried to get her son to stop crying when Hundley "told her to shut that ['N word'] baby up."
"I said, 'What did you just say?'" Bennett said. "And he was so drunk that he fell onto my face, and his mouth moved over to my ear and he said it, just directly into my ear."
The 33-year-old mother then says Hundley slapped her son in the face.
"When I had looked at Jonah's face, he had, his eye was swollen…and it was bleeding," Bennett said. "I was just scared to death."
That's when fellow travelers stepped in.
"After Joe Rickey Handley struck [the child], Ms. Bennett received assistance from several people on the plane, including male passenger Todd Wooten," court documents said.
Wooten, who was seated in row 16, said he heard derogatory language coming from the rear of the aircraft and witnessed Hundley slapping the child.
Hundley was charged with simple assault, and if convicted of the misdemeanor count, he faces a maximum term of one year in prison.
"Let's just let the case speak for itself as it develops," Hundley's attorney Marcia Shein said.
Shein said her client will be pleading not guilty.