DENVER (AP) _ A postman who says he stashed three tons of mail in his home because he couldn't keep up with his route was sentenced to three months in a halfway house for counseling.

''I did what I did to make people satisfied with my work,'' John Cade told U.S. District Judge Lewis T. Babcock on Monday. ''It was never my intention to hurt anyone.''

Cade, 37, also was placed on five years' probation and ordered to perform 200 hours of community service.

The 16-year mailman was arrested after postal inspectors found 6,555 pounds of mail that had been stacked in his Boulder home for up to five years. He pleaded guilty to delaying or destroying mail.

Cade also was ordered to pay $17,615 to cover the cost of postal refunds, equipment and time required to sort through the mail at his house.

The judge said Cade's involvement in the International Fantasy Gaming Society led him to neglect his everyday obligations.

''The world is not a fantasy world, Mr. Cade,'' Babcock said. ''If standing here in court to be sentenced on a felony charge doesn't bring that home to you, I don't know what will.''