Trial of alleged serial rapist begins in Albany

Phillip Conner

The trial of accused serial rapist Phillip Benjamin Conner began today in Albany.

Police say Conner sexually assaulted his female victims by posing as a police officer.

In the span of a few short weeks in March of 2009, Phillip Benjamin Conner allegedly approached seven women on streets in and around Albany.

After flashing a badge, police say Conner took his victims to a secluded area and sexually assaulted them.

"The allegation that he posed as a police officer is of significance in that you want to make sure the community feels safe with our police officers," said Dougherty County D.A. Greg Edwards.

Conner's 50 count indictment includes six counts of rape, eleven counts of sodomy, kidnapping, and other related crimes.

Chief Don Cheek of the Dougherty County Police Department say there is no ironclad way to determine if someone is an actual police officer.

But there are warning signs that you may be dealing with an imposter.

"If you have someone in a uniform that does not look quite right, if you have somebody trying to stop you in a car that's not an obviously marked law enforcement car," said Cheek.

Cheek urges citizens to act on their instincts.

"Call the 9-1-1 number," he said. "Get on the phone with a dispatcher and say, I'm being stopped. Do you have an officer legitimately stopping me?"

At first glance, a fake badge may appear real, especially if you're in the dark. So how can you tell a phony badge from the genuine article?

"A legitimate law enforcement badge will be unique to that agency," said Cheek. "If it just says 'guard' or 'security' or something like that, it's not law enforcement."

Most police agency websites feature photos of the badges their officers wear.

"Familiarize yourself with what the badges in your local jurisdiction look like," added Cheek.

As for Phillip Conner, he faces life in prison if convicted on all counts.