Kenja hits back at Dyers documentary

St. George Leader, Australia/July 31, 2008

Co-founder of Kenja Communications Jan Hamilton has hit back at a documentary about the spiritualist development organisation and its former head Ken Dyers, who committed suicide last year while facing 22 counts of sexual assault against two girls.

Filmmakers were granted unrestricted access to Kenja Communications to make the documentary, which includes interviews with Bundeena residents Mr Dyers and Ms Hamilton, past and present attendees, psychologists and families who blame the group for the disappearance of loved ones.

Directed by Luke Walker and Melissa Maclean, the film "explores the ambiguity of the cult enigma" and Kenja practices, including Mr Dyers' "energy conversion meditation" technique, in which participants are supposedly rid of negative energy preventing them from reaching their potential.

"I think it's a very balanced film," film-maker Luke Walker told the Sydney Morning Herald. "I made sure Kenja always had their right of reply, often to the detriment of the narrative."

But Ms Hamilton, who is due to appear in Downing Centre Local Court to face an apprehended violence order against a former Kenja member on August 26, slammed the film, saying allegations that Kenja practice involved nudity and sex were "cheap" and "sleazy" sensationalism.

Ms Hamilton said she had never met Mr Walker and was not told that the film would include any references to the charges against Mr Dyers.

"We were not given opportunity to respond to it," Ms Hamilton said. "At the 130th hour of our interview she [Melissa Maclean] started to throw the sell factor in, the naked processing, and all that rubbish. Ken hit the roof."

Mr Dyers was acquitted of 11 counts of sexual assault against four girls in 1995. He was charged with another 22 counts of sexual assault against two 12-year-old girls in 2005 but committed suicide before he could stand trial last year.

Kenja has run advertisements in metropolitan and regional newspapers commemorating Mr Dyers' death. Beyond Our Ken is now in cinemas and will be on DVD in September.

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