Company suspends exec charged with slapping toddler on plane

ATLANTA (AP) - The employer of a 60-year-old Idaho executive says it has suspended the man after authorities charged him with slapping a 2-year-old boy aboard a flight to Atlanta.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports the parent company of Unitech Composites and Structures in Hayden, Idaho, confirmed Saturday that its president, Joe Rickey Hundley, was suspended pending the outcome of the criminal investigation.

Al Haase, president and CEO of parent company AGC Aerospace and Defense, Composite Group, said in a statement the company is "taking this matter seriously."

Hundley was charged with simple assault after Jessica Bennett, 33, of Minneapolis told authorities he slapped her crying boy in the face and used a racial slur.

An affidavit filed in U.S. District Court by FBI special agent Daron Cheney says Hundley slapped the 2-year-old during a Delta Air flight from Minneapolis on Feb. 8.

The child's mother told authorities the boy was crying as the plane prepared for landing. Bennett says Hundley was sitting next to her and slapped the boy in his face, causing a scratch under his right eye. She says Hundley used a racial slur while demanding her to quiet the boy.

Hundley "told her to shut that ('N word') baby up," Cheney said in the affidavit. "Ms. Bennett received assistance from several people on the plane, including male passenger Todd Wooten." Cheney said.

Wooten was seated rows in front of Bennett and said he came to help after he heard derogatory language being used behind him, according to court documents. Bennett said the infant began crying louder after he was slapped.

District attorneys officials say Hundley was not taken into custody and it is unclear when the case will go to court.