A LEADING expert on Descartes from Reading University has denied two charges of indecent assault. The case against John Cottingham, head of philosophy, was being heard this week in Reading Crown Court. Two female students, known as Miss X and Miss Y, allege that Professor Cottingham, 53, kissed and fondled them in his office after a garden party on July 1 last year. The court heard on Tuesday that Miss Y, an American, had three years earlier made a similar allegation against a man she met in a nightclub in the United States. The case was continuing as The THES went to press.