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Columbus Woman Ordered to Stand Trial for Alleged Theft from Parish


PORTAGE – Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced that Susan Droessler, of Columbus, Wisconsin, was bound over for trial today after waiving a preliminary hearing.  A not guilty plea was entered on her behalf.  Droessler remains out of custody on a signature bond, and the case will be back in court for a status conference in approximately 90 days, in Columbia County Circuit Court.  The exact date will be scheduled next week.


According to the Criminal Complaint, Droessler worked for a period of time as a secretary and bookkeeper for St. Jerome Parish and School in Columbus, Wisconsin.  In January of 2010, a trustee on the parish finance council discovered that for a period of time dating back to at least the beginning of 2007, large sums of money had been misappropriated from the church and school.  A subsequent investigation by the Columbus Police Department revealed that the defendant, who was able to write checks from the school and parish accounts, used parish and school funds to pay for various personal and family expenses, such as items totaling over $5,000 at Wal-Mart, over $17,000 for various credit card accounts in the defendant’s name, and numerous other expenses for items and bills.  It is also alleged that the defendant enrolled herself in full-time health benefits through the parish, to which she was not entitled.  It is believed that the total amount of premiums paid by the parish from August 2004 through August 2010 for the defendant’s family coverage, dental plan, and vision insurance was in excess of $88,000.  Parish officials confirmed that the defendant was not entitled to receive these benefits, nor was she entitled to use any of the school funds for personal use.


The charge of felony theft in this case is a class G felony punishable by a fine of not more than $25,000 or imprisonment for not more than 10 years, or both. 


A criminal complaint is a document accusing a person of a violation of criminal law.  A defendant enjoys a presumption of innocence.  The prosecution must prove its allegations at trial beyond a reasonable doubt.


Assistant Attorney General David W. Maas is representing the State.  This case was investigated by the Columbus Police Department.