Shelley Sessions vividly remembers the first night her adoptive father touched her. She was eleven and they were in a hotel room somewhere between New Jersey and their new home in Texas. As she lay sleeping, Bobby Sessions slipped his hand into her panties. Shelley screamed out and her mother rushed to her side, but Bobby swore he was asleep and must have thought it was his wife.
Linda Sessions, of course, believed her husband. To do otherwise would mean giving up the lifestyle her husband’s lucrative job in the oil industry afforded them.
When Shelley was thirteen, Bobby escalated his sexual assaults to full-fledged sexual intercourse. And the nightmare assaults would last for the next three years until Shelley finally told someone. But her revelation hadn’t come easy. She’d spent years being brainwashed to believe that if she told Bobby’s power and money and would keep people from turning on him.
Bobby wasn’t wrong, it would seem.
The crackdown, now in the name of Jesus, had begun. – quote from Dark Obsession
Linda Sessions committed her daughter to a strict, brutal girls’ home founded by a Christian extremist who believed if his people couldn’t pray the devil out of you, they’d beat him out. Bobby Sessions, on the other hand, went to a luxury counseling facility and found God in his alternative to prison. Bob spent six months swimming, playing ball, exercising, and manipulating counselors before going home to his wife and mansion while Shelley spent almost a year being told when and what to eat, when to shower, falling asleep to Bible lessons blaring from a bullhorn, and getting hit with a thick wooden paddle for the slightest infractions.
Yes, indeed, it seemed Bobby Sessions could manipulate or buy his way out of everything. But the man who had adopted her after marrying his mother didn’t know who had tangled with and Shelley was hell bent on making folks realize what “good ol’” Bobby had done to her when no one was looking.
Published in 1990, Dark Obsession: The True Story of a Father’s Crime and Daughter’s Terror is part memoir by Shelley Sessions and other part true crime written by award winning journalist Peter Meyer about Shelley’s struggle through sexual abuse and the fight to make her abuser pay, one way or another, for what he did.
I’ve had this book lying around for a while now, not certain if I could read about a victim still alive and probably still living through the pain but finally decided to give it a try. I can say that I wasn’t wrong about how difficult it would be to read, but I’m glad I did anyway. The story was excellently written, making no effort to sugar coat a horrific crime, and evoked so much emotion.
Of course, I can’t close this review without spout off – Linda Sessions makes me SICK! She’s one more in a too long list of women who are willing to turn a blind eye to the abuse of their children to stay in their massive homes, drive their fancy car, wear their fancy jewelry, and maintain their hoity-toity lifestyles. Ladies, YOU bring a child into this world, YOU protect that child. And should you not about the abuse before, when your child tells you, LISTEN to them. And if you TAKE HIM BACK after it’s been proven, especially by HIS OWN WORDS, you are WORSE than the pedophile you married and deserved to be STONED IN THE STREETS! I believe GOD forgives, but MOTHERS don’t and I’m feel 100% certain he damn sure doesn’t expect us to stay married to pathetic bastards who MOLEST OUR DAUGHTERS!
Whew! Rant over. But please read Dark Obsession if nothing but for the educational value it provides. Yes, it’s difficult to read. It’s sick and disgusting, but what Bobby Sessions did is just that and I admire Shelley for speaking out – something I wish more victims could do. Bottom line: this book is one of the truest “true crimes” you’ll ever read!
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UPDATES FROM THIS BOOK:
Shelley Sessions had two sons with her second husband. However, that marriage did not last. By the time Bobby Rowe Sessions died on May 8, 2006, Shelly’s last name was McPeak. But, if my sources are correct, Shelly divorced him as well and, in 2009, remarried again to a truck driver and lives by the name Shelley Revey in Mineola, Texas, just outside of Dallas.
Betty Carol Sessions Duvall died on April 17, 2011.
In neither of the foregoing obituaries is Linda Sessions mentioned as a survivor or a “preceded in death by” so it can only be assumed she finally pulled her head out of rump and left that perverted, narcissistic husband of hers. Whether it was Bobby or Linda who filed for divorce, I can’t say for certain, but Linda is, or was very recently, married to Lanny Wayman Smith, once the director of the now defunct Word of Freedom Fellowship church. He and Linda have had their share of financial troubles.
Michael Bryant Sessions‘s life has been one filed with alcoholism and crime. As recent as 2010, he forfeited a $3,000 bond when he failed to show up for hearing on DUI charges.
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