Scarsdale Mom: “Clearly, I Made a Mistake”

The suburban mother who ordered her bickering daughters out of her car and drove off without them said today that she made a mistake. A charge against her is likely to be dismissed.
Madlyn Primoff, 45, a partner in a Manhattan law firm, had touched off a national debate, with many people calling her irresponsible but admitting they've been tempted to do the same.

She discussed her actions for the first time after a judge said he would dismiss the child-endangerment charge against her in six months if she stayed out of trouble.

“Clearly, I made a mistake,” Primoff said outside court, her husband Richard standing beside her. “But I truly love our children and I know that I am a good parent.”

Primoff, of Scarsdale, said her family discussed what happened April 19, when she put her 10- and 12-year-old daughters out of the car in downtown White Plains.

“We've put it to rest and we'll move forward together,” she said.
The girls were attending school and not in court.

Prosecutor Audrey Stone said Primoff was “engaged in family therapy” and was not considered a danger to the children. Primoff had been barred from returning home for a day after her arraignment, but that order was quickly modified to simply ban any criminal activity toward the children. The order remains in effect.

City Court Judge Eric Press adjourned the case and agreed to dismiss it and seal it Nov. 9 if Primoff behaves.

Primoff and her daughters were three miles from home on the evening of April 19 when Primoff pulled over and ordered the girls out for squabbling. Defense attorney Vincent Briccetti said later that Primoff intended merely to drive around the block and pick the girls up, but they were gone when she returned.
“She wasn't abandoning her children,” he said.

When Primoff could not immediately find the girls, she went home, picked up her husband and her father and resumed the search. They found the 12-year-old, who had begun walking home. But the younger girl, upset and emotional, had been taken in hand by a passer-by, who called police.
When Primoff called police to report her daughter missing, she was told the girl was safe. When she went to police headquarters to pick her up, she was arrested.

Primoff quickly became the focus of a debate on talk shows and the Internet about how to deal with the common family dilemma of children angering a parent by fighting in a car. Most mothers questioned sympathized with Primoff's situation but disagreed with driving off.
“I can't see pulling away,” one woman said. “That has to be too scary for the children.”

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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