A Columbus woman will spend time in jail for stealing from a Columbia County Catholic school.
Susan Droessler was sentenced Tuesday to five years of probation with six months of the probation spent in jail and another six months of probation on Huber release. She was also ordered to pay $167,000 in restitution. She’s already paid back $100,000 of that total.
Droessler pleaded guilty to felony theft in August.
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 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 stolen from the church and school.
“As time goes along and as the defendant continues to get away with these types of actions, the crime snowballs and she continued to use these funds for more personal business,” said the state’s attorney David Maas.
Officials said an investigation revealed Droessler, who was able to write checks from the school and parish accounts, used school and parish funds to pay for various personal and family expenses.
Droessler used the funds to pay for items totaling more than $5,000 at Walmart, more than $17,000 for various credit card accounts in the defendants' names, and numerous other expenses for items and bills, according to the criminal complaint.
The complaint also alleges that Droessler enrolled herself in full-time health benefits through the parish, which she was not entitled to. It is believed that the total amount of premiums paid by the parish from Aug. 2004 through Aug. 2010 for the defendant’s family coverage, dental plan and vision insurance was in excess of $88,000.
Droessler was also ordered to avoid involvement in any groups that deal with money. She was told to report to jail on Friday.
“Not a day goes by that I don’t know that the actions that I did hurt others, and to all of them I say, ‘I am sorry,’” Droessler said.