Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar speaking at 2016 Alberta homeschool convention

EDMONTON — An Alberta home-schooling association is standing by a controversial American reality TV couple slated to speak at its upcoming annual convention.

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar are to give a keynote address at the Alberta Home Education Convention in Red Deer in April.

The long-running show “19 Kids and Counting” chronicled the religious Arkansas couple and their growing number of home-schooled children.

The program was cancelled on TLC in July after revelations that their oldest child, Josh, had fondled four of his sisters.

READ MORE: TLC cancels ‘19 Kids and Counting’ in wake of molestation scandal

The Alberta Home Education Association, which is organizing the convention, says in a statement on its website that board members decided to keep the Duggars on the agenda.

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It says the molestation happened more than a decade ago and is “old news.”

“The AHEA does not condone Josh’s behaviour but wishes to follow the example of the victims in this situation who have expressed a desire to ‘forgive and forget,'” said the statement.

“It is AHEA’s hope that Jim Bob and Michelle will share what they learned as parents from these difficult experiences — learning of Josh’s behaviour then and now living through the recent media hysteria.”

READ MORE: Jim Bob, Michelle Duggar open up about Josh Duggar molestation scandal

The president of the association could not immediately be reached for comment.

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