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Lawyer Arrested After Dumping Two Kids Out of Car

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Associated Press: Usually, it's an empty threat: "If you kids don't stop fighting, I'm going to stop this car right now and leave you here!" But a mother from an upper-crust New York suburb went through with it, ordering her battling 10- and 12-year-old daughters out of her car in White Plains' business district and driving off, police said Tuesday.

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Madlyn Primoff, 45, a partner in a Manhattan law firm, pleaded not guilty Monday to a charge of endangering a child. A temporary order of protection was issued, barring her from contact with the children, who were physically unharmed.

Primoff's lawyer, Vincent Briccetti, would not comment Tuesday on details of the case. But he said, "Madlyn is a great mother connected with a great family, and she is grateful for the outpouring of support from friends and family."

There wasn't much support from strangers, however. Mothers interviewed near the scene said they couldn't imagine doing what Primoff did, though some understood the urge.

Iris Gorodess, 49, of Mahopac, who has four children ranging from 10 to 19 years old, said she sympathized with Primoff's actions, right up to the point where she pulled away.

"I used to pull over and make the kids change seats. Also, I make sure the kids have their iPods and their games. And I have a minivan, so they're not up my neck all the time.

"But I can't see pulling away. That has to be too scary for the children."

White Plains police said Primoff ordered the arguing girls out of the car Sunday evening as they were driving home. She left them at Post Road and South Broadway, an area of shops and offices 3 miles from their home, then drove off, the police report said.

The report does not say whether the girls had cell phones.

Police would not say if Primoff ever returned to look for the girls, but they said, without explaining how, that the 12-year-old eventually caught up with the mother. The 10-year-old was found by a "Good Samaritan" on the street, upset and emotional about losing her mother, police said.

The girl gave police her mother's name and their address in well-to-do Scarsdale, and they asked Scarsdale police to check Primoff's $2 million house. Shortly afterward, Primoff called Scarsdale police from home to say the 10-year-old was missing, said Scarsdale Detective Lt. Bryant Clark.

He directed her to White Plains police headquarters, where she was arrested.

Dr. Richard Gersh, director of psychiatric services at the Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services in Manhattan, said Primoff's behavior was not appropriate.

"It is a traumatic situation for a child to be abandoned by a parent like that. You can imagine what emotional issues might arise," he said.

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45 comments so far | Post a comment now
Gigohead  April 22, 2009, 9:46 AM

wow that was cold of her. She should have driven around the block and given the girls a cool off period. She should not have abandoned the kids, anyone could have taken advantage of the girls. This is a good lesson for her. Perhaps she will think next time if she does get her kids back.

Kirstie April 22, 2009, 10:43 AM

Well, I remember my mom doing something similar to my brother and I when we were younger then these girls - I was probably about 9, so he was 5. We were being awful and she pulled over and said “That’s it, I’ve told you a hundred times, get out of the car.” When we did, she drove away! Of course, she dropped us off in front of our church, and didn’t drive very far - she drove about 2 minutes down the street, flipped a u-turn in a friend’s driveway and came right back. It was a good lesson, though - we stopped fighting!!

And of course, me being the smart*ss that I always was, just went “Well, okay, we’ll just walk home! Let’s go, Nick,” took my little brother’s hand, and started walking. We didn’t get out of church property before my mom came back, though - and we were only about 2 blocks from my house.

Didn’t scar us or leave us with emotional issues - I like to think that as a college student who’s putting herself through school I’m a fairly well-adjusted, responsible young person. =]

char'den April 22, 2009, 11:52 AM

She obviously was pushed to a breaking point with these ungrateful disrespectful brats. She should have began the discipline process from day one and the results would have been different. The girls would have been more respectful and protective of one another. Still, I thinks he loves her girls and they love her. A little parenting class and family therapy and they will be a fine family.

N April 22, 2009, 12:45 PM

siblings fight, its the way it is she should have just ignnored it till they got home the punished them. she is a bad mother, she even called police to treport the youngest missing. she probably wanted it to seem like they ran away so they would get in trouble not her.

Camille April 22, 2009, 1:31 PM

The woman is a lunatic…ok she had a moment of temporary insanity. There’s no way you leave you children on the side of the road like that. Anything could have happened to them. Kidnapped, hit by another car, anything. That was so dumb. And to think she’s a partner in a law firm.

AM  April 22, 2009, 2:44 PM

I have to agree with char’den… If these kids had a little sense of consequences for bad behavior they would have known when to put a lid on it. She called to report the ten year old as missing so maybe she did go back to pick them up and they weren’t where she expected them to be. The police say the twelve year old caught up with the mom so maybe the mom expected her kids to stay together and walk home but the older kid left the younger one behind or the younger kid refused to stick with the older one. This sounds like a mom realizing her kids need discipline and now and she overreacted a bit.

rugbymom April 22, 2009, 5:14 PM

There is way too much missing to make a judgement here. I’m pretty much with Kirstie on this one. But again, there is too much left out. I too would do this, and drive around the block, but that certainly depends on what block, at what time, under what circumstances. Sometimes it is good to scare the poo out of kids, but not to ever put their lives in danger. Maybe they walked 3 miles home every day from that spot. Who knows!

Dels April 22, 2009, 6:33 PM

wow, the judicial part seems a bit much but then again, i guess we don’t have all the details. Seems to me like a case of good intentions gone bad.
When my girls were 10, 8 & 7, I took them to the supermarket with me. Before entering I gave them a speech “dont ask 4 anything, dont touch, dont scream”.. u know. At the cereal aisle they start to bicker & shove. I threatened to leave the cart(which was full of all their fave foods and treats) & go home where there was only bread & cold cuts for dinner. They must have thought i wouldnt spend 30 mins shopping just to leave empty handed, so they continued to argue.. I did just that. Left the entire cart & said “lets go”
They cried the whole way home apologizing for the scene they created. Never again have they acted up in a store!

Miki April 23, 2009, 8:40 AM

This is a selfish, immature woman. Three miles is a long way to walk, and after the 12 year old had caught up to her and she knew the 10 year old was out there on her own, she continued on home. That was insane. I have 3 children, sometimes you just have to tune out all the noise, concentrate on the road. It couldn’t have taken her more than 10 minutes to drive the 3 miles home, where she could have punished them in a way that made sense.

Lynn April 23, 2009, 8:46 AM

I can see both sides of this. The Mom was trying to teach them something and it backfired. She should not have left them, but at the same time…they were on their own for 40 minutes. How is this any different or worse that all the kids who get left home alone all day with no adult there? Or how is it any different or worse than kids who are allowed to be outside playing by themselves? Or the many kids who walk home from many places on a regular basis? They are in the same type of potential danger as these kids were. Anything can happen at any time. The only difference is that this issue has been made public and the many kids left unsupervised on a regular basis has not. My kids are teenagers and I still do not leave them alone because of the many things they can get into and all of the weirdos out there. But I am just saying to think of kids in just as much potential danger as these two were in, for much longer than 40 minutes and on a regular basis, and the parents are not being brought up on charges.

Rose April 23, 2009, 10:47 AM

I have put my 5 year old out the car (in the garage). I backed out of the garage and he began screaming. I then allowed him back in the car. Although, I would have never left him in the garage alone. He thought I was leaving him because of his poor behavior. Because of this I have no problems out of him in the car. When he begans to act up in the car. I ask him if he wants me to pull over. His behavior improves immediately.
Don’t be so quick to judge - this was probably not the first time this mom has done this. My mother would put my brother and I out of the house if we talked back to her or were fighting each other, but we knew that when she said get out she meant sit on the porch until she was ready to deal with you us.

Adrienne April 23, 2009, 11:28 AM

This is a classic case of what happens when the ‘law’ steps in and takes over instead of personal discernment and repsonsibility. The ‘do-gooder’ in this situation should be ashamed. Kudos to him/her for taking the child for icecream and sympathizing with her story. Shame on him/her for calling the authorities and not driving her home, speaking to the mother, and getting the whole story!

Jenifer April 23, 2009, 11:30 AM

There is a big difference between a child being at home alone knowing that their parents are at work but will be home at a certain time, and being told by ones mother “get out of the car, I am leaving you behind”. 10 years old is young enough to be pretty upset by that; 12 is older enough to just “know” that it’s a punishment for doing something wrong.

Above and beyond that, it’s the mother’s own fault that her children are so poorly behaved that she feels that she has to follow through on the “get out of the car” threat for it to work to get them to behave

adrienne brown April 23, 2009, 2:37 PM

I have been through that with both my children and now my grandchldren. I have a remedy which is a punishment for me as well, but it works. When they start that insane bickering, whining, crying, etc., I turn the radio on full blast. Yes, it hurts my ears too, but guess what I tell them that I won’t turn it down until they stop. Works like a charm every single time.

Brenda April 23, 2009, 7:17 PM

Please, don’t be so quick to judge. We are living in stressed times and spoiled children can test your every nerve. I believe this woman loves her children and would never put them in known danger as the children put the entire family with their fighting in the back seat. We as parents, have all done things that may have put our children in danger one time or another.Lets come together on this issue, because the law has no place in family disputes when discipline is obvious. If it happens to her , it can happen to you. It’s only a matter of time before it affects you or a loved one. So lets not condone the method of discipline, but understand and have empathy for her and her family.

Carol April 24, 2009, 3:58 AM

Only the parent of unruly fighting kids can possibly understand where this mother is coming from .
In the same situation I would have done the same , the first rule of parenting is never give idle threats.
These girls were 10 and 12 not 3 and 5 !!!! and big enough to find their own way back . Girl guides and brownies do orienteering at this age but hey they would have had to be nice to each other and worked together to do that.
what a pair of brats!
Yes I would probably have returned to the scene but maybe she did , it does not state that . With one smart alec walking home and another crying to a do gooder they may have been out of sight at the time she returned.
I did a parenting skills course from choice as part of my paediatric nursing and one ‘trick’ they teach is give them a common denominator and they will stop fighting , i e leave them to it and then they can both hate you ..obviously it did not work with these two

J D April 24, 2009, 12:01 PM

My kids walk 1.5 miles to school every day and 1.5 back. The fresh air is good for them and it give them time to think about their actions and could help the kids learn to work together. People if you think that was bad for the kids and should be taken from the mother….Fostercare will make that 3 mile walk look like a blast!!!

Brian April 24, 2009, 7:57 PM

I think she should have tried water boarding first:) I think it depends on what the three miles looked like. Did she drop them off on the median of a highway, or was it some suburban neighborhood, did the girls know how to get home from where she dropped them off. If I were a parent the only thing I would be able to think of is her getting picked up by some mass murdering pedophile. Didn’t she see Little Children. I couldn’t have done it.

Karen Ross April 26, 2009, 7:32 PM

This woman should lose her kids. I would not do that to my two dogs! What the heck was she thinking? She needs psychiatric help and to lose her license to practice law. I hope she spends many years in prison as a reminder of what she did and what could have happened to those dear children.

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