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Charges likely dropped in drop-off case

May 7, 2009 3:00:25 PM PDT
A suburban mother who ignited a national debate said Thursday she was wrong when she ordered her bickering daughters out of her car and drove off without them. Madlyn Primoff, 45, of Scarsdale spoke after a White Plains city 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 after the court session, her husband Richard standing beside her. "But I truly love our children and I know that I am a good parent."

She 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. The girls were attending school and not in court Thursday.

"We've put it to rest and we'll move forward together," she said.

In court, prosecutor Audrey Stone said Primoff, a partner at a Manhattan law firm, was "engaged in family therapy" and was not considered a danger to the children. After her arraignment, Primoff was not allowed to return home but that mandate was modified the next day to an order of protection that remained in effect Thursday and bars Primoff from any criminal activity toward the children.

White Plains 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."


NEW YORK AND TRI-STATE AREA NEWS

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