MADISON, Wis. -

A Columbus woman accused of stealing money from a school and parish appeared in court Wednesday.

Susan Droessler made her initial appearance in Columbia County Circuit Court on one count of felony theft.

Droessler remains out of custody on a signature bond, and she will return to court on February 22, 2013, in Columbia County Circuit Court.

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.

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 Droessler, 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 more than $5,000 at Wal-Mart, more than $17,000 for various credit card accounts in Droessler's name, and numerous other expenses for items and bills, according to the complaint.

The complaint also alleges that Droessler 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, according to the complaint.

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.