26 Aug 2008

Cult founder warned off after 'bizarre' audition ploy

Sydney Morning Herald - August 27, 2008

by Bellinda Kontominas

ALISON PELS thought she had finally escaped the grasp of the cult Kenja Communications when she left the group in February last year.
But six months later the then 20-year-old found herself the subject of a bizarre plot by Jan Hamilton and other members of the group, who disguised themselves with fake facial hair and wigs while posing as directors of a play.
Ms Hamilton co-founded Kenja with her late husband, Ken Dyers, who committed suicide last year amid allegations of multiple sex offences against children.
Ms Pels, who has given the Herald permission to name her, was among those who made allegations against him.
Ms Hamilton was yesterday ordered by a court not to stalk, harass or intimidate Ms Pels as part of a two-year apprehended violence order, made after Ms Hamilton and Kenja members had staged fake auditions for a performance of Chekhov's Three Sisters at the West Pymble Community Hall on October 17 last year.
Outside court Ms Pels, whose father and brother left Kenja but whose mother remains a member, said she had recognised two Kenja members in the audition room and became extremely distressed.
"My whole body had shut down, I was in absolute terror," she said.
"In my mind it wasn't just that they were trying to scare me, I thought that they were going to kill me."
Ms Pels's lawyer, Brett Longville, told the court that Ms Hamilton's actions were a "sinister" attempt to harass and intimidate Ms Pels for making the allegations against her late husband.
But Ms Hamilton's lawyer, Harland Koops, said Ms Pels was a "habitual liar", who had staged the audition process and her subsequent distress in an attempt to cause serious criminal charges to be laid upon Ms Hamilton.
He said Ms Hamilton and other Kenja members had been at her Surry Hills home on the night in question. He produced a video of the group purportedly taken on that night.
However the magistrate, Roger Clisdell, found that the video, which included a shot of a wall clock and close-up of a newspaper showing the date, was a "child-like" attempt at providing an alibi for those members.
He said the video as well as the "hoax audition" had the "bizarre hallmarks" of the Kenja group and he did not find any witnesses from the group, including Ms Pels's mother, Marty, to be reliable.

This article was found at:



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Ken Dyers: Tributes and accusations

Evil forces drove husband to suicide: widow

Cult leader buried

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Cult leader Dyers 'now a martyr'

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Sex 'healing' cult suicide

Sydney cult leader found dead

Kenja leader found dead at Bundeena


  1. Spiritual healing group whose leader committed suicide after he was charged with child sex offences is promoting a series of children's concerts


    A spiritual healing group whose co-founder committed suicide in 2007 after he was charged with 22 sexual offences has re-emerged and is hosting a series of children's concerts across the country.

    The Kenja Communication spiritual movement's concerts are billed by the group as having a mix of orchestra, ballroom dancing, poetry, choral singing and tap dancing.

    Daily Mail Australia spoke with a concerned mother after she was approached by a woman selling tickets to the upcoming concerts in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra.

    The concerts are due to be held at the St.George Auditorium in Kogarah, in Sydney's southern suburbs on May 30, June 6 and June 13. No dates were given for shows in other cities.

    Kenja Communication is a Sydney-based group founded in 1982 by Kenneth Emmanuel Dyers and his defacto wife, former actress Jan Hamilton.

    Dyers described his self-styled spiritual healing group, which preaches a form of one-to-one meditation called 'energy conversion', as a 'blessing to Australia - the human spirit of the people of Australia.'

    Kenja runs weekly workshops, classes and lectures with professional consultants to 'offer ongoing communication, effectiveness and awareness training to help people create a more balanced life for themselves'.

    The mother, who purchased a ticket to the show, told Daily Mail Australia she was at a shopping centre on Wednesday when a woman started talking to her two-year-old daughter.

    'The woman asked me if I wanted to go to a kids concert and handed me a ticket from her pocket,' the mother, who did not want to be named, said.

    'I looked at the prices list and declined as it would have cost me $70 for the family and I didn't have that kind of money to spend.

    'She gave the ticket to my daughter saying look at the stars and dancers then she looked at me and said she'll charge me a child's ticket for the whole family for just $20.'

    'She was playing with my daughter and holding her hand, which I thought was strange,' she said.

    'I gave her the money and she told me to dress my daughter up as a fairy or princess and that all the children will get a chance to be on stage with the dancers.

    'She also told me it's held at a community-based sports and dance center so other kids from the community will be there and it will be really fun.'

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  2. When the mother arrived home, she searched online to get more background about the company and found a series of articles about the group's past, including the multiple child sex charges against Dyers, to which he pleaded not guilty.

    In a statement to Daily Mail Australia, Ms Hamilton disputed some details of the concerned mother's account, saying the ticket seller did not initiate contact with the little girl, but the little grabbed the ticket from the seller, who responded by talking to the child.

    She said there was nothing unusual about the group organising events.

    'Kenja has been performing concerts, documentaries, and lecutres for over 30 years,' Ms Hamilton wrote. 'We receive very very few complaints. The performances are not staged as performances for children as such, but families regularly attend.'

    The Kenja group have proclaimed Dyers' innocence following his death.

    The 85-year-old WWII veteran was due to stand trial in relation to allegedly sexually abusing two 12-year-old girls at his Kenja's offices in Surry Hills between 2001 and 2002, AAP reported in 2005.

    He faced 17 aggravated indecent assault charges and one count of aggravated sexual assault in relation to the first girl and four aggravated incident assault charges to the second girl.

    Dyers denied he was guilty and claimed the accusations were part of a 'witch-hunt' by 'former disaffected members' who were 'part of a campaign to destroy him'.

    He was found dead in his Sydney home on July 26, 2007 - just one day after Dyers had been told by his lawyer of further allegations made by a third girl.

    In 2008, a 20-year-old woman took out a two-year apprehended violence order against his widow and co-founder Ms Hamilton, according to Fairfax Media. It was alleged the woman made allegations she had been sexually assaulted by Dyers.

    It was alleged in court Ms Hamilton and her Kenja members had staged fake auditions where they disguised themselves with fake facial hair and wigs in an attempt to pose as directors of the play. Ms Hamilton was ordered to not stalk, harassed or intimated the woman.

    Kenja claims its purpose on it's website is to 'increase understanding of the spiritual nature of man and our relation to the human spirit, coupled with practical training in the basics of effective communication – time, space and energy.

    In her statement to Daily Mail Australia, Ms Hamilton said: 'Christian fundamentalists and "anti-cult" groups have conducted a decades-long campaign against the Kenja organisation. Many people however will happily provide you with their testimonials regarding the work and practices of Kenja and its very successful history in Australia.'

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