ALBERTA

Alberta Home School Group Stands By Decision To Have Duggars Speak At Convention

10/29/2015 03:18 EDT | Updated 10/29/2015 03:59 EDT
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TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Michelle Duggar and Jim Bob Duggar appear on NBC News' 'Today' show (Photo by Peter Kramer/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

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.

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

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.''

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

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