Cult leader Dyers 'now a martyr'
July 30, 2007
Australian cult leader Ken Dyers committed suicide last week but the controversy around him and his Kenja group has not died with him.
He had been due to face court in May on 22 charges relating to the sexual assault of two girls but was deemed unfit for trial.
It has now emerged that last Wednesday, Dyers' lawyer rang him to say the police wanted to interview him about further allegations of sexual abuse from a girl who attended his "energy conversion" sessions.
The next day, the 84-year-old ended his own life.
In October last year, film director Melissa McLean asked Dyers about the sexual assault allegations he was preparing to defend in court.
The film, Beyond our Ken, which is an entry in this year's Melbourne International Film Festival, looks at Dyers' group, Kenja Communications.
McLean only got halfway through her first question before Dyers produced a furious outburst.
"Why don't you have that viewpoint as well and do something worthwhile with your thing, instead of asking me to defend myself and defend myself?" he said.
"Defend Kenja, well we're playing a clean game, the cleanest game that's being played here in Australia and why do I have to defend myself for that? I don't and I'm not going to."
McLean says she was "shocked" to discover Dyers had committed suicide.
"This is a man who really believes in himself," she said.
"Ken Dyers has always expressed the utmost confidence in what he believed in and to kill oneself was the opposite of that, so I always expected him to battle on to the very end, whatever that was."
In making the film, McLean witnessed a re-enactment of one of Dyers' "energy conversion" sessions.
It was during these sessions that two girls alleged he had sexually assaulted them.
"It seemed to me quite strange and I said that to him, that I was uncomfortable watching him do that because it is so unusual to watch an old man, an 84-year-old man essentially hit on a young girl, but he said he did that so they would recognise when they were being hit on," she said.
The court case should have started in May but the court ordered a mental health assessment for Dyers, whose health was deteriorating.
In the film, Dyers talks about his health issues.
"I'm on the way out. I don't expect to last more than two years but I'll tell you this much, I condemn these bastards of people," he said.
"I've tried to be honest and I've really opened myself completely to you and you're still asking me stupid bloody questions like that, asking me to defend myself."
Yesterday, the Kenja group took out full page adds as a tribute to Dyers.
They called him "a great Australian" and criticised police, the media and cult awareness groups for "ruthlessly attacking" Kenja for years.
McLean says it is exactly what she expected.
"It will be to bond together and say the bastards got him in the end," she said.
"He's a martyr to the group now. It's not that he killed himself, it's that the press, everybody attacked him and they got him. They beat him down."
But she says without Dyers, Kenja will struggle.
"They have been functioning without him for the past 12 months - he hasn't been able to have any contact with the group while under sexual assault charges, that's the condition of his bail," she said.
"They always thought he would come back at some point. I don't know whether they will go on though. They need a figurehead and I don't know that they really have on without him."
Disclaimer:This news page is about groups, organizations or movements, which may have been called "cults" and/or "cult-like" in some way, shape or form. But not all groups called either "cults" or "cult-like" are harmful. Instead, they may be benign and generally defined as simply people intensely devoted to a person, place or thing. Therefore, the discussion or mention of a group, organization or person on this page, is not necessarily meant pejoratively. Readers are encouraged to read widely on a topic before forming an opinion. Never accept information from a single source at face value. This website only holds a small amount of information and should not be relied on as a complete source. For example, if you find older information, this should be weighed up against newer information as circumstances can change.