HARRISBURG - Pennsylvania's attorney general yesterday asked the social networking Web site MySpace.com to preserve any user profiles posted by the state's registered sex offenders.

Attorney General Tom Corbett said he was responding to published statements by MySpace officials that they had identified, removed and blocked thousands of user profiles of convicted sex offenders.

On Monday, Corbett and seven other state attorneys general asked the company to provide information about registered sex offenders who use MySpace. The company said federal privacy laws bar it from doing that in the absence of specific legal procedures.

Prosecutors want to make sure that MySpace will be able to produce the information if it is needed to prosecute Pennsylvania offenders "who might be violating their terms of release or may be engaged in criminal activity," Corbett spokesman Nils Frederiksen said yesterday.

The formal "preservation letter" was sent to MySpace's custodian of records in Santa Monica, Calif., Frederiksen said. Messages left yesterday for MySpace officials were not immediately returned.

The Monday letter was sent by Corbett and attorneys general in Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Mississippi, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Ohio.

Corbett's child-predator unit on Thursday arrested a Johnsonburg man accused of using MySpace to communicate with an undercover agent posing as a 13-year-old girl. In October, state prosecutors charged a Pittsburgh man with using MySpace to proposition a 14-year-old girl.