Suspect pleads not guilty

A man accused of posing as a Las Vegas police detective and sexually assaulting two women pleaded not guilty Wednesday in District Court.

Philip Taft, 38, faces multiple felony charges that include kidnapping, sexual assault, impersonating a police officer and open and gross lewdness.

Authorities said Taft, who was a floor supervisor at The Venetian, approached a woman near Tropicana Avenue and Wynn Boulevard on July 26. He flashed a badge and identified himself as a plainclothes detective and said he had a gun. He then took the woman to an undisclosed area and assaulted her.

In another incident, investigators said Taft picked up a woman near a Panda Express on West Tropicana Avenue near Decatur Boulevard, where she was working as a prostitute.

Once she was in his car, Taft told her he was a police officer and had a gun and a badge under the seat.

The victim told police that Taft said she had to perform oral sex or have sex with him to avoid going to jail. She said Taft drove her to an area near Sunset and Fort Apache roads and sexually assaulted her.

The woman said Taft then told her he actually was a lawyer and that she asked for money. The woman said Taft told her all he had was $10 and gave it to her.

Taft was arrested in August. He is being held at the Clark County Detention Center on $340,000 bail.

A trial date was set for May 10 before Judge Valorie Vega.

Contact reporter Francis McCabe at fmccabe@ or 702-380-1039.

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